By Anna Smith
Art by Emily Smith
“I am That Girl” is hosting another forum on inclusive language. This meeting is taking place on Wednesday, April 28th during lunch in the dining hall. This meeting will offer students and faculty a place to anonymously ask questions regarding inclusivity.
St. Mary’s continues to take steps in addressing the issue of inclusive language with recent “I Am That Girl” meetings. The club’s last two meetings were based on the idea of how the lack and usage of inclusive language affect those around us. The first meeting was offered to students and was an introduction to the conversation of inclusive language. The next meeting included both students and faculty. This meeting was used to introduce faculty members to the importance of inclusive language, and also offered the faculty a safe space to ask questions to better understand inclusivity. Mrs. Hogan who attended the meeting said, “I was very moved by how many students participated and even more by how many faculty members participated.”
For many people, inclusive language is a new idea. The change in language and actions can be difficult, so it is important to understand that everyone is going to make mistakes and that no one is perfect; however, the effort to learn and grow is what is most important. Nassif put it perfectly, “It’s about growth, not perfection.”
Teachers looking for ways to implement inclusivity in their classrooms can use these resources provided by Kate Kiameh and Lucy Nassif. They can also make the pledge to inclusivity here.
Inclusive language and actions are important in creating a world where everyone feels included, welcomed, loved, and respected. To Lucy Nassif (11), inclusive language is defined as “the effort to be conscious and intentional about the words I use to ensure that I am inviting another person’s whole self into a space.”
Nassif explained how important implementing inclusive language to them, saying:
“I know what it feels like to be excluded. Even from a young age, I have always felt different and not truly welcomed in certain spaces and classrooms. I’m sure many of us have experienced that moment when we’re surrounded by others, but, ironically, feel so alone. I know that the moments in my life when I felt truly included were the moments when I saw someone making an effort— and not necessarily executing it perfectly— to include me through their words and their actions. No one should ever feel like who they are isn’t worthy of the love, honor, and respect that we would wish for others. I know that the St. Mary’s community is founded upon love, and I think inclusivity is an extension of that.”
While reflecting upon the importance of inclusivity in a learning environment, Kate Kiameh (12) stated, “I think a critical aspect of being able to learn is feeling safe to express oneself fully. Inclusivity in the classroom is key for everyone to be able to grow and foster respect while learning.”
Overall, the most important ways both teachers and students can practice inclusivity is by listening, learning, and growing. Nassif said, “I’m excited to see how we are constantly working towards greater inclusivity, and I’m so proud of our community for making that effort to listen and learn from each other.”
For & By Students
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