Wednesday, October 21
Dr. Anthony Perry
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Lab School of Washington
It is not hyperbole to say that we live in a world that is systemically inequitable and exclusive. After all, this made my role as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion necessary. I believe that the purpose and role of education is to mold civic-minded individuals, that is, we must prepare our students to, in the words of Lani Guinier, “participate in the decisions that affect their lives as individuals and the society they create as a collective.”
In addition to preparing students for an everchanging and more multicultural world, we must prepare them to change that world to reflect the values they, themselves, hold dear. Guinier, in The Tyranny of the Meritocracy, pushes us, as educators, to reconsider the educational status quo—a status quo that centers individual competition above all else, a status quo that replicates inequities and does not adequately prepare students to be civic-minded individuals in a democratic society.
The rallying call as of late has been: “Education, not incarceration;” however, as Ericka Huggins, activist, educator, and former Director of the Oakland Community School, said in a recent conversation with Angela Davis, “Education as it exists today cannot be the solution.”
As the world is full of complex problems for us to solve, including, but not limited to, the role of technology, climate change, gender equity, and racial justice, I believe there are three essential skills that we must cultivate in a modern, meaningful student experience: 1. collaborative problem solving, 2. independent thinking, and 3. creative leadership. Additionally, and arguably more importantly, there is a lens through which said students must view and approach those skills: the lens of equity and inclusion.
In this talk, I hope to discuss the ways in which our educational system reproduces systemic racism as well as the need for and the ways in which we can collectively build systems and practices equitable and inclusive of race.
Anthony Perry, PhD
Currently, Dr. Anthony Perry is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Lab School of Washington. A first–generation college graduate, he holds a B.A. in History and Hispanic Studies from the College of William and Mary and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies from Georgetown University. As a scholar, he aims to critically interrogate the status quo through the examination of naturalized literary, historical and cultural structures. Through a Brace Center for Gender Studies Faculty Fellowship, he examined how Black masculinity in media can be unpacked and re-approached intersectionally. In addition to presenting his work to the Phillips Academy community in 2018, this he presented to educators at the Brace Center’s Summer Institute in 2019.
Previous to Lab, he spent three years living and working in the Bay Area, first at The Nueva School and then at The Branson School. While at Nueva, in addition to teaching Spanish-language and literature courses, Dr. Perry served as the inaugural coordinator for THRIVE, a program that supports students and families who have been historically underrepresented in independent schools. In his 14-year career, he also has served as a Spanish-language and literature instructor at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, the ABC Language School in Washington, DC, and the Language Immersion Trips Abroad (LITA) Summer Program in Peñafiel, Spain.