The Brooklyn Friends School lobby at Pearl Street was quiet for most of the day—until, that is—our second grade students from 2A appeared outside the door of Head of School Crissy Cáceres, each with large hand-drawn signs, to take part in a “sit-in.” They were there to speak with Crissy about their desire to have increased diversity and affinity groups throughout the school.
The “sit-in” was part of the conclusion of 2As Change Makers unit, which included a week of projects during which they aimed to solve problems that they care about in the BFS and NYC community. Despite the fact that Brooklyn Friends is one of the most diverse school communities in NYC, the group became very passionate about this particular issue.
“We are here because we feel that there is not enough racial, international, gender, and family diversity at BFS,” one of the three second graders who read a prepared speech.”We don’t want anybody to feel left out.”
In addition to Crissy, members of the Enrollment, Advancement, and Communications teams were also in attendance, as was Dr. AnaMaria Correa, BFS’ Director of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging. Of course, their terrific teachers, Hannah and Katie, were there was well. After the students’ prepared remarks, Crissy commended the group on their approach and their mission.
“What you are doing actually works,” Crissy said of the sit-in, “you’re not coming to me with demands. You are coming to this saying ‘this matters, this is important.’ … This is exactly what we do at Brooklyn Friends School. We work together on things that are real issues.”
Crissy and AnaMaria then informed the second graders that there was already a plan to start working with the concept of affinity groups in the Lower School, a fact that made the second graders burst into applause. The “sit-in” was emotional for the students and adults alike. Second graders were also informed by the Enrollment Department that their opinions about the school were important for potential new students and families.
“The world is already stronger, already wiser, because you are in it,” Crissy said. “We are going to honor your sit-in by making sure it’s not just a moment on a Tuesday, but that we actually engage in action steps to do something wonderful.”