Diversity Day


Jade Abu Bakr, News Editor '22

Cincinnati Country Day School’s Diversity Day is becoming an annual tradition amongst the community in which students, teachers, and faculty discuss areas that affect all types human identity. We also have the chance on this very important day to reflect on how our population can advocate for and incorporate more diversity within our institution. This day reminds all of us that there is still work to be done. If we are willing to take the time and have these critical conversations, it shows that we are heading in the right direction.

After listening to insightful anecdotes from Kelly Hayden and Tommie Lewis that highlighted importance of being present in all spaces, students split into student and teacher led breakout sessions – one of the most awe-inspiring portions of the day. During this time, students were able to listen to their peers present about parts of their life that are important pieces of who they are while also commenting on how diversity is a key part of this ever-changing environment that we are all growing in. I sat in on the “Heman Marion Sweatt” and “Unified in Diversity” sessions which were run by Noah Duplechan, and Jourdan Jones and Emma Valentin, respectively.


Noah Duplechan talked about the legacy of his grandfather, Heman Marion Sweatt. Sweatt was the subject of a Supreme court case in which he fought to attend the University of Texas in 1950. In the moments building up to the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, Noah’s grandfather was fighting to get an education after having been rejected by the institution. Noah talks about how his grandfather’s case went as high as the Supreme Court, and how he eventually ended up working with Thurgood Marshall. Through several obstacles and even threats against his life, he won the case and attended the university.

Noah also talked about other members of his family in addition to his grandfather. He says that “all six of [his] grandfather’s siblings are educated” and even talked about his aunt Erma Sweatt who was a graduate of Wilberforce University – an HBCU in Ohio. Noah stated towards the end of his presentation that this experience learning about his family “puts my life into perspective.”

Personally, it was astonishing to see how much history he had at his fingertips. This presentation recognizes how going forward we must document and preserve our lineage. Without that family history—photos, videos, journals, letters—there is a piece of life that could potentially be forgotten. It was amazing to hear about Noah’s grandfather, and even more so to hear that he is honored at the University of Texas and that his legacy will not be forgotten.


Jourdan Jones and Emma Valentin demonstrated how personal and institutional diversity can effect on our daily lives. Some topics that they discussed included homogenous vs. diverse groups, surrounding yourself with people that have differing opinions, diversity at our own school, and how we as a community continue to push for these conversations. Both ladies stressed the importance that “it’s okay to be uncomfortable” and that diversity is supposed to be multi-faceted and allow any and everyone to speak their mind. In fact, it should be a welcoming feeling. More often than not the world chooses to put a band-aid over the scars that have been left behind by past mistakes. Diversity Day has become that first step to acknowledge the flaws and inherent biases of society. It provides a day for no judgement, but instead a chance to collaborate and look for solutions as we grow and become our own leaders in the world.


The event was wrapped up with the presentation of Summer of Soul, which is a film that uncovers the story of a predominately Black festival that took place in Harlem, New York around the same time as the well-known Woodstock festival. The film features several different accounts from those that worked the festival, attended, and performed. Wrapping up this day with a fun showcase of Black music and culture provided another dimension to how Black people were evolving and how music was at the epicenter of these movements.

From start to finish, Diversity Day encompassed several different pieces of what the Country Day population consists of and allowed us to think about how we can grow closer and more aware as a community. I’m excited to see how this tradition will grow in the coming years.