Benchmark School is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative (GPDC), which convened an Elementary Student Diversity Day on Friday, April 16. At this Zoom-based event, Ms. Scott’s and Mrs. Rahm’s classes took part in a collective meeting of 3rd-6th grade classes from local small independent schools to learn about diversity, equity, fairness, anti-racism, inclusion, and social justice.
The theme of the day was "UPSTANDERS: Speak Up! Speak Out!" and Benchmark students were thoroughly engaged and challenged as they thought about how they would feel and what they would say when facing a situation of injustice.
Students also had a chance to explore art by people of color and share their own artwork and messages with other schools. Students in both classes have been learning about social justice throughout the year, and it was rewarding to see the students' insights and maturity as they engaged in this important topic.
Ms. Scott shared, “We participated in several workshops, including one on Black and Asian Solidarity. This was perfectly timed since we only just finished our novel, Paper Wishes, about the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Indeed, we have had many rich discussions about the fairness of Executive Order 9066 that FDR signed that imprisoned our own citizens, as well as looking at countless Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams photographs that documented the camps. We have connected historical anti-Asian sentiment with recent tragic events against that community. We also acted out an event in the news about voter suppression in Michigan. The day enhanced the work we have done all year on identity, fairness, and inclusion.”