Meet the KLS Equity, Inclusion, & Justice Team

Khan Lab School
September 25, 2020 / 5 mins read

In 1955 on September 23, a jury acquitted Emmett Till's killers; on the same date in 2020, a grand jury returned no indictments for the death of Breonna Taylor. This year has been a call to action to continue to fight against systemic injustices.

As a school, it is incumbent upon us to reflect upon our teaching practices and renew our commitment to racial justice, gender equality, the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights, and socioeconomic equity. It is not sufficient for us to only teach tolerance, but rather we must empower students to take action in fighting for equity, inclusion, and justice. Young people have an inherent sense of fairness. We trust them to continue demanding liberty and justice for all.

We are excited to announce thatKLS officially formed our Equity, Inclusion, and Justice(EIJ) Teamthis summer. IL3 AdvisorMichael Hurley, Director of Experiential LearningBrandon Lee, and Upper School History SpecialistNatalie Johnson will be focused on professional development opportunities for the KLS team, and, witha student committee, will work together to plan programming for classrooms and community forums.

Our hope is to expand on the already warm KLS spirit and challenge each other to grow as a school community that values equity, inclusion, and justice.

Join the EIJ Student Committee

IL5, IL6, and IL7 students,would you like to get involved?A student-led initiative to create an EIJ Student Committee is underway.The EIJ Student Committeewill meet weekly with the EIJ Team to reflect on issues of equity, inclusion, and justice, and participate in the development of EIJ programming for KLS students.

A group of IL6 and IL7 student leaders have spearheaded efforts to create a student EIJ committee. We asked the students why they wanted to create the committee, and here a couple of their responses:

  • “We've been here from the start of KLS, and we've seen the community change and grow. KLS is important to us, and we want to help it change and grow—to make it as welcoming as possible.”—Nunu Z., IL7
  • “Our community is like a family at this point. We want to welcome everyone into an inclusive and safe environment.”—Bella T., IL7

All IL5, IL6, and IL7 students are invited to apply to join the EIJ Student Committee! Students canapply herebeforeWednesday, September 30.

If you have questions, please contact the EIJ Team

Online Student Diversity Leadership Conference

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has an upcoming potential opportunity for our High School students (per NAIS) to attend theOnline Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SLDC)from December 1 to 4, 2020.

Please note that there isno guaranteethat KLS will be able to send a delegation to the SLDC. The EIJ Team will be entering the pre-registration lottery for this conference, which opens Monday, September 28, and closes Wednesday, September 30. We will be notified on Thursday, October 1, about whether or not we will be able to send our own student delegation.If KLS is accepted, we will then reach out to identifyup to six studentsinterested in attending the Online Student Diversity Leadership Conference. We would like to have both IL6 and IL7 represented. Priority for student delegates will be given to EIJ Student Committee members and our seniors. Fortunately, this conference is held annually.

We will send out more details about how to express interest in attending the SLDC if we are accepted, so stay tuned!

While we wait to find out if KLS is accepted to have a student delegation, learn more about the conferencehere.

Holidays & Traditions

The EIJ Team would like to highlight a few past, current, and upcoming holidays and traditions.We also have an opportunity open to the KLS community to celebrate our diversity together!

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In honor of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her legacy, some of our Lower School students readI Dissentwith their Advisory this week. If you're interested, you can view a read-aloud of the bookhere.

Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur

This September marks the start of the Jewish New Year, known as the High Holiday season.

  • The first of the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah (September 18 to 20) is a time for prayer and celebration. During this two-day holiday, it is customary to listen to the blowing of a “shofar” (or ram's horn), eat round foods to symbolize the ongoing nature of time, and dip apples in honey in hopes for a sweet new year!
  • Justice Ginsburg's passing on Erev Rosh Hashanah (September 18) marked her as a tzaddik, someone who lived with great righteousness.
  • Yom Kippur (September 27), or Day of Atonement, is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. It begins one week after Rosh Hashanah and is a day of prayer and fasting.

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Image Credit: Traditional Mexican folklórico dancers on stage at La Fiesta de Tumacácori. Patrick L. Christman, photographer, 2017. National Park Service

National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 to October 15 isNational Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM), a time to recognize the accomplishments, cultures, and histories of generations of Hispanic Americans.

  • National Hispanic Heritage Month honors both Hispanic and Latinx Americans as it acknowledges heritage across all Latin American nations.
  • The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded to its 30-day time frame in 1988.
  • On August 17, 1988, NHHM was enacted into U.S. law.
  • Many dates throughout NHHM carry meaning for Latin American countries. The start date, September 15, carries significance because it marks the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. On September 16, México celebrates its independence, as does Chile shortly thereafter on September 18.

We look forward to sharing more about how KLS recognized NHHM in our next newsletter!

Día de la Ingeniería/Latinx Engineering Day 2020

Join the Exploratorium forLatinx Engineering Day 2020online! The SF Bay Area Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Exploratorium are hosting a conversation with professionals working in a variety of engineering disciplines onSunday, September 27, at 2:00 p.m.This is a free, bilingual (Spanish/English) program intended for audiences of all ages. View more detailshere.

Call for Community Holiday Spotlight Submissions

The EIJ Team plans to celebrate our community's diversity through holidays!

If you would like tosubmit a storyto share about your family's special traditions, please add them to theKLS Community Holiday Spotlight here.

We can't wait to celebrate and learn with you this year!


KLS Equity, Inclusion, & Justice Team