When I explain Ramadan to people who aren’t Muslim, I’m often met with incredulity and disbelief—while the general idea of fasting for 30 days from sunrise to sunset is simple, it’s often hard for people to grasp what that looks like in practice.
We understand that social justice is at once a process and a goal requiring both the capacity to envision the world we wish to see and the conviction and commitment to build it.
At Nueva, our vision for that future world is rooted in the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who boldly declared, “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”
This concept of the Beloved Community frames all of our equity and inclusion work at Nueva as we seek to make the changes—individual, institutional, and ideological—we need to fully embody Dr. King’s vision of a world “tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”
Our institutional commitment to anti-racism is an extension of the work of building the Beloved Community. Considering the profound ways in which we are interconnected also requires us to examine in what ways we inhibit, deny, or break those connections due to our perpetuation of multiple systems of oppression. This examination of ourselves is both painful and powerful as we peel back the layers of pedagogy, practice, systems, and structures that have enabled some students to thrive and other students to struggle. That struggle manifests in multiple ways—from a sense of isolation to not seeing oneself reflected in the curriculum to microaggressions and outright discrimination—and is deeply impactful on the social, emotional, and psychological health of our students and faculty of color.
As we continue on this path and process of quantitative and qualitative change, we find ourselves grappling with profound questions of purpose and praxis:
- How do we create an abiding sense of belonging for every member of our community?
- How do we decenter whiteness in favor of the rich and varied complexity of our multiracial and multicultural community?
- How do we respond to harm while embracing the capacity of each of us to transform?
Our work for years to come is to find our way to the answers of these questions.
As Maya Angelou said, 'Do the best you can until you know better. And once you know better, do better.'
The spirit of her words describes Nueva’s iterative approach perfectly—we investigate and change accordingly. Clearly, now that we see the pernicious effects of racism within our community, it is the Nueva way to do better.
– Lee Fertig, Head of School
For the lower school community meeting on Feb. 17, members of the Black Student Union and BSU advisors Rashida Blade and Shelby Divan shared what Black history means to them with lower school students. We invite you to hear what they said!
In this essay below, sixth grader Julian D. shares the history of three important Black people from around the world, who have inspired him.
"These great men have all passed away in the past year, so I wanted our community to remember their stories," he writes. "When you read about them, I hope you’ll agree with me that they were great and inspirational people."
To learn more about and celebrate the people on whose land we learn, second graders did a deep dive into the past and present lives of the Ohlone people.
I’ve been curious about my heritage since I was little. Classmates would ask me, “What are you?” and with pride I would say, “I’m Filipino-American, 100 percent.” I am 100 percent hard work and determination and bravery that took our family from Eastern Samar, Philippines to Silicon Valley.
Senior Sam R. reflects on his seven years at Nueva and being part of a tight-knit LatinX community at Nueva.
For Hispanic Heritage Month, we invited three Latina faculty members in our Nueva community—Paloma Hernandez, Ana Cecilia Alvarez, and Karla Ortiz—to reflect on the question: What do you want to celebrate about your Latina heritage?
Inspired by all the conversations she's had as equity and inclusion representative on student council, senior Fiona T. recently launched a new podcast, Identity Unraveled.
We are excited to introduce our new justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) student support and programming coordinator for preK through sixth grade, B Garcia.
Our Nueva community—faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni—is working collectively to take concrete actions toward being an anti-racist institution. Like organizations all over the United States, we have been complicit in regards to issues of systemic oppression. We know that we have critical work to do. We are committed to being an anti-racist organization—one in which we all develop a comprehensive understanding of how racism and oppression operate—and to dismantling racism within Nueva and in our larger community.
Click on the images below to learn more.
The Task Force on Racial Equity and Accountability
The Nueva Board of Trustees has created a task force to help elevate the school’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)–with a specific focus on the Black community. The task force is working alongside the Nueva Social Justice and Equity Team, as well as administration, faculty and staff, students, the Nueva Parents’ Association, the African American Affinity group, the board of trustees, and others.
Watch the video to learn more about the task force's objectives and steps being taken to bolster accountability. (Illustrations by Anisha K. '22)
Racial Equity and Accountability Task Force Update (June 9, 2022)
Our Beloved Community — Celebrating Our Journey to Date (May 28, 2021)
Safety, Wellness, and Belonging: Our Continued Commitment to Building A Beloved Community (March 2, 2021)
Thanks and Giving (November 20, 2020)
Learn by Doing, Learn by Caring: Never More Important! (August 28, 2020)
Reaffirmation of Our Anti-racist Commitment (August 26, 2020)
Elevating Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (August 7, 2020)
PreK–12 Director of Equity & Social Justice
“At our core, Nueva is dedicated to possibility, creative potential, and the power of human empathy. What better time than now to imagine who we want to be and who we want to become as we confront the challenges that lie before us?”