Equity & Inclusion Newsletter

January 2022

Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. : Read Aloud Video

Monday, January 17 marks Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which was first declared a federal holiday in 1983. With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day approaching, we'd like to share a read aloud video of the text Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This book shares the true story of Georgia Gilmore and the Club from Nowhere, a grassroots project to provide food and funds for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Dr. King appears in the text as a secondary character. We chose this book not only to honor Dr. King's legacy, but also to draw attention to the the many important contributions of changemakers and organizers working towards liberty and justice for all alongside Dr. King during the Civil Rights Movement, and even still today.

Please consider sharing this read aloud video featuring Region 15 students with your family! There are questions for discussions included in the video throughout so that you may pause to talk with one another to make meaning together.

Interested in learning more about Georgia Gilmore?

Pies From Nowhere

Secondary Spotlight

At Pomperaug High School, two student-run organizations, the Asian Student Union and the LatinX Club recently collaborated to plan and host a potluck event!

In describing Asian Student Union, President Amanda Victoriano, PHS junior, shared "bringing Asian Student Union to our community at Pomperaug High School is not only about inspiring others to stand up and raise their voices, but to support one another" and that bringing "Asian Student Union to our high school is also not only to preserve our culture, but to make known to other students in the Asian community of PHS that they are not alone--that you don’t have to hide your identity, we’re here to make you feel safe, to welcome your true self and your culture. As the president of the Asian Student Union, it inspires me knowing that I’ve created an organization that provides a safe space to the underrepresented Asian students of PHS. I want this organization to be as inclusive as possible, to welcome our students with different Asian backgrounds and learn from them. I want the members of ASU to collaborate with one another, whether that’d be through celebrating or educating each other with their different cultures or even just talking and discussing their experiences as a whole."

Mrs. Yamira Raimundi, faculty advisor of the LatinX Club, explained "the Latinx Club promotes understanding and celebration of Hispanic culture in the PHS school community. Being the club's advisor means the world to me; the club fills me with great pride as a Latina. Helping students in their activities and seeing how they share their cultures, customs and stories are what I enjoy most. Talking about our cultures and experiences is very important to create a school community environment of inclusion and diversity." LatinX Club President Alex Roper, PHS senior, added "the Latinx Club is an important organization for us to have at Pomp because we don’t get exposed to a lot of Latinx culture so we wanted to celebrate our culture and share it with friends and anyone else who wanted to learn about it."

ASU secretary Kamya Keerthivasan, PHS freshman, shared that "this club came to be because of the idea of bringing together Asians in this school. While we did join together, there were more reasons behind it. We wanted to have a safe place to talk about global/local issues going on and just a safe place to "hang out" and be who we are. At the beginning, I joined the club to meet more people of Asian descent, now that I think of it, I actually wanted a place where we can be together but so diverse at the same time."

From tres leches cake to adobo to chao mi fen and so much more, students at the potluck event shared foods that were special to them, their families, and who they are. ASU Treasurer Gabby Leonardi, PHS sophomore, said "the potluck event generated a great turnout. So many people contributed and we received so much good feedback from within the club and from others who attended. I think its significance as an event relies on the unity and sense of community that it created." "These types of events are important because they promote diversity and cultural exchange in the school," Mrs. Raimundi added. Alex Roper added "one thing that stands out to me about the potluck event was how cultures can come together to celebrate each other despite our differences. In a world where culture and diversity are two important and beautiful things, it’s great to see the celebration of multiple cultures, especially in an area that is not the most diverse." ASU President Amanda Victoriano said "the significance of this event is a celebration, that we’ve accomplished bringing about such organizations that are here to comfort you and bring you happiness in our community. We want you to share and be a part of your culture, to help you learn to embrace it comfortably in your own skin. We want you to stand bravely in front of everyone, to know that we are all in this together, whatever we go through, whatever challenges we partake. Each and every culture is beautifully different, and being able to share that to everyone else by food, singing and dancing, and communicating, was an inspiring experience that we got to deliver to our PHS community."

The LatinX Club and ASU are always open to new members at PHS!

Calendar of Religious Observances: January 2022

Why is this information important?

  • The towns of Middlebury and Southbury are made up of families representing many different religious and cultural identities.

  • The information below is offered as a resource to increase awareness of & respect for religious observations and ethnic and cultural festivities. These observances may affect students, colleagues and neighbors in our community.

What are some ways this information can be used?

Calendar planning by for use in scheduling and planning details, for example:

  • workplace festivities

  • community events

  • school activities and exams

1/5 Guru Gobind Singh Ji’S Birthday: (Sikh) Guru Gobind Singh was the 10th Sikh guru of Nanak and founder of the Khalsa

1/6 Christmas (Armenian Orthodox Christian): Armenian Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Epiphany, except for Armenians living in Israel, who celebrate Christmas on January 19th

1/6 Epiphany/3 Kings Day: (Christian) Known as Theophany in Eastern Christianity, it celebrates the manifestation of Jesus as Christ. In addition, the Western Church associates Epiphany with the journey of the Magi to the infant Jesus, and the Eastern Church with the baptism of Jesus by John.

1/7 Christmas (Eastern Christian): Most Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas 13 days later than other Christian churches based on their use of the Julian rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar

1/14 Makar Sankranti: (Hindu) Seasonal celebration marking turning of the sun toward the north

1/17 Tu B’Shvat: (Jewish) New Year's Day for Trees, and traditionally the first of the year for tithing

1/18 Mahayana New Year: (Buddhist) In Mahayana countries the New Year starts on the first full moon day in January

(Source: Anti-Defamation League)

Because our intention in sharing this information is to increase awareness of and respect for religious observations and ethnic and cultural festivities that may affect students, colleagues and neighbors in our community, your input is important. Please email equity_inclusion@region15.org if there is something we missed!

Tribury Reads Together: Upcoming book club opportunity!

Tribury Reads Together will soon be finalizing the next book choice for this communities-wide reading opportunity. Please click here to access Tribury Reads Together's website for more information.

Communities that learn together grow together!

Here are some upcoming, free events that students, families, staff members, and other stakeholders may be interested in:

The American School for the Deaf is enrolling for its Spring 2022 Community Sign Language Program. This course is virtual for 13 yr old+ American Sign Language (ASL) classes!
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The importance of listening to your lived experiences, insights, ideas, and perspectives cannot be overstated. Please feel free to reach out! We'd love to connect.

*Note: Quotation (c) 2019 CLC Collective and Dottir Press