Miramonte parents group explores racial issues

Building a sense of belonging for all families

The Miramonte Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Parents Group, or EDI, hosted the first of a series of parental racial equity seminars through the online platform Zoom. Aimed exclusively at Miramonte parents, the seminars are meant to explore various issues surrounding race and identity, and allow for parents to have stronger and better conversations with their children, friends, and community about race. Dr. Lori Watson, a racial and social justice facilitator also in charge of the Miramonte Student Racial Equity Team, leads the seminars.

“Our ultimate mission as a group is to create programming to support a policy for equality and a sense of belonging for all families through coordination with the administration, students, and the other EDI groups within the district,” Miramonte parent Amy Berryhill said.

The first session focused on proper language, tools for racial justice, and parameters. The second session will focus on identity and personal journeys. The third session will focus on implicit biases, beliefs, and racial consciousness. The fourth and final session will focus on “whiteness” in society. Each session lasts 90 minutes with a maximum of 60 attendees, which was met during the first session. Parents signed up through Eventbrite in early September and made a commitment to attend all four sessions. The maximum number of parents was already met, meaning parents can no longer sign up.

“The goal of the parent seminars is to intimately explore issues of race and identify, and provide the tools necessary for parents to speak with their children, friends and community members about this difficult but relevant and important topic,” Berryhill said.

Session facilitator Dr. Lori Watson worked as an Equity Transformation Specialist with Courageous Conversation, an organization whose goal is to achieve racial equality through conversations and discussions. She worked for over 20 years as an educator and leads many similar racial equity seminars across the nation. She lives in Oakland, which led to an easy connection with the nearby school district once the parents equity groups reached out. 

“I want people to become more color conscious and not color blind. People are having different experiences based on what color they are, and the meanings that are attached to those colors. Many of those meanings are socially constructed. Myths and stereotypes about who people are impact the experiences people have in this world,” Watson said.

A national parent survey taken by the American Enterprise Institute in June 2020 of 500 parents found that 42 percent of all parents are worried about the impact of racist comments and actions on their students. Racial equity education was already incorporated throughout the Acalanes Union High School District by the Cohort Academy sessions on Mondays focused on educating students on race, equity, and equality, as well as other related issues such as microaggressions and implicit biases. 

“Parents need to know what is happening in Cohort Academy to believe in the equity work being done at our schools,” junior Gracia Chen said.