Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Justice
Westridge was built on a mission to provide gender equity in education. Today, we draw upon the spirit of our founder Mary Lowther Ranney to expand diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) on our campus.
These essential components of the Westridge program are imperative to the wellness of students in underrepresented populations and central to academic excellence for all Westridge students.
We are actively working to:
- Identify and eliminate biases and gaps in our programs and policies.
- Make the programmatic changes and do the community-wide education and growth necessary to make Westridge a school where all students, families, and faculty and staff feel they belong and are affirmed, valued, and supported.
- Increase diversity of all kinds, especially racial and socioeconomic, because we know that all students benefit social emotionally and academically from learning in a more diverse environment.
DEIJ is one of four focus areas of our strategic plan published in January 2020, prioritizing resources of time and funding to make substantive and meaningful change at our school. Importantly, events in spring 2020 energized many people across the generations of Westridge to join us in working for change.
Recent conversations with Black members of the Westridge community have caused the School to reflect on who we have been and who we want to be moving forward. Additionally, we know our families have been impacted by anti-Asian prejudice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We recognize that students of color, including Black and African American, Latinx, Multiracial, and Asian students, are having different experiences at Westridge. Students deserve to be in a learning environment where racism is explicitly addressed, and white students must understand their role in challenging racism and how they can be advocates for change.
The Latinx Affinity hosted its annual Salsa Night event last Saturday to build community and celebrate diversity through dance, music, and food sharing.
Thank you to all who made the WPA Night Market—the first all-school gathering of the year—a rousing success! Hundreds from the Westridge community passed through the market, an annual event focused on connection and shared cultures through food, games, activities, and entertainment from around the globe.
Kudos to the Westridge English Department and the students who planned and participated in the 10th Annual Voices in Literature Conference, "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Held on Wednesday, the conference featured student works in various mediums including song, dance, written word, and various visual art media.
On Monday, the Upper School Student Voices group collaborated with the Allies for the Disabled Community Affinity to host an activity raising awareness about the disabled community. “At a school where academic excellence is emphasized, it is important to recognize different academic or life journeys that others endure,” said Bella H. ’23, one of the affinity’s founders.
As Westridge is working towards routinely examining and intentionally designing a learning environment where all students can thrive, alumna Briana Price '04 was invited to campus to share her story with members of the Black Student Union.
In honor of Black History Month, co-deans of Student Voices, Amber Rodriguez and Tamara Jaffe, put together words and resources for our community centering on the 2022 national theme of the month, "Black Health and Wellness." Westridge is supporting Black health and wellness with a spotlight on Black joy.
Westridge celebrated Lunar New Year throughout campus with an assembly, dragon dance, and more. The Lower School's Student Activities Leadership Council (SALC) put on their annual assembly that included an educational video about Lunar New Year traditions created by Middle School student government, and a dragon dance performance.
Westridge alumna Vanessa Delgado ’95, a prominent California politician and housing advocate, joined a Q&A session at this week's LatinXellence assembly led by senior co-heads of the Westridge Latinx affinity, Simone O., Olivia Q., and Sonaya V.-W.
For Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) this week, Bonnie Martinez's Literatura en Español (Literature in Spanish) class put together beautiful ofrendas (altars honoring the dead) in the Main Hall honoring famous Spanish literary figures.
We asked our teachers how they have recognized the culture, history, and contributions of Hispanic Americans during Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month in their classrooms. Classes in Lower and Middle School from arts to technology have linked curriculum to the observance of the month, September 15-October 15, and to the celebration of Día de los Muertos, which takes place November 1-2.