March 22, 2021
Many of us have regularly heard the comment that Vermont Commons is not diverse or that people wish we would catch up with the diversity of the State of Vermont or the City of Burlington. Ironically, more than 20% of our student body identify as students of color, a percentage higher than the City of Burlington and significantly higher than the State. A good bit of writing since the Atlanta massacre last week has been discussing how people from countries in Asia living in the U.S. and Asian Americans–especially women–are often invisible or simply overlooked or ignored in much of American society. When people say there is no diversity at Vermont Commons School, they perpetuate that same act of invisibilizing Asian Vermont Commons Students and Faculty. Our Mission and Guiding Principles remind us that we must not accept this, as part of our same refusal to accept acts of discrimination or violence targeting anyone based on their identity. While it is sad that it need be said at all, nonetheless we must assert the presence, existence, and absolute essentiality of every member of our community, and right now we are called vocally to do that regarding all who self-identify as Asian and of Asian descent. We are a diverse, beautiful family at Vermont Commons School, in Burlington, in Vermont, our country, our world, made beautiful and whole by our variety of identity, experience, appearance, and expression.
In my life as a student, teacher, scholar, and writer, I have been deeply influenced by these authors, among others: