The West Hartford Parent Community Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Groups are hosting a webinar in advance of a May 4, 2022 luminary event that will include multiple schools.
By Ronni Newton
Building on the success of an event organized in the spring of 2021 by Aiken Elementary School’s EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Parent Committee, the West Hartford Parent Community EDI Groups are bringing families together throughout town to visually “Illuminate West Hartford” in celebration of diversity.
On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, families from Aiken Elementary School will be joined by families from Braeburn, Bugbee, Duffy, and Webster Hill in a display of luminaries that will be a visible statement of their commitment to equity and justice – to celebrate West Hartford’s diverse community, “to learn, and assert that no one should face hate and discrimination based on their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, immigration status, or religious belief,” states an announcement by the West Hartford Parent Community EDI Groups.
“Last year’s event meant so much to the Aiken community, so this year we invited all West Hartford Public Schools elementary schools,” said Abiah Ruel, an Aiken parent and EDI committee member who helped organize last year’s event. “We’re so pleased to have partner schools and hope that even more will join in the future. It’s so important to teach our children how to stand up against racism and discrimination.”
Luminary kits will be provided to students and staff at the participating schools, and the bags will be lit and displayed throughout the neighborhoods on May 4, at 7 p.m.
“Aiken’s event last year was beautiful at a very difficult time when Anti-Black and Anti-Asian racism and violence was well publicized,” said Yukiyo Iida, co-founder of West Hartford Parent Community EDI Groups. “Unfortunately, many individuals from all marginalized groups continue to face bias, discrimination, and hate which is harmful to everyone. We wanted to build upon the event and include additional resources on our website and a webinar with Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to support all families with ongoing learning and action opportunities for all children, no matter their age.”
As part of the initiative, and in advance of the luminary event, all West Hartford families are also invited to participate in “Illuminating Conversations: How Books Can Help Us Talk About Identity, Diversity and Bias.” A webinar, scheduled for April 27th from 4 to 5 p.m., will be presented by the ADL and is designed for elementary and middle school parents, guardians, caregivers and educators. The webinar, which is also available as a recording for those unable to attend live, “will demonstrate how books can help children explore their identity, understand differences, and consider actions they can take to challenge bias and advance inclusion.” Anyone wishing to attend, or to receive the recording, can register here.
The West Hartford Parent Community EDI Groups has put together conversation tips for families, as well as a directory of resources on a variety of related topics to support families in ongoing discussions with children of all ages.
“We look forward to Illuminate West Hartford on May 4, knowing that behind each door with a luminary displayed, there is learning and growth happening to make our community as strong, safe, and inclusive as possible,” the West Hartford Parent Community EDI Groups said in an announcement.
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