Skip To Main Content

Tough Conversations

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 

- Revelation 7:9-10

Events of the last few years have pushed each of us to wrestle with the challenging topics of race, racial/ethnic diversity, and God’s calling on our lives. We sat down with a few high school seniors to hear about their experiences confronting these topics at Covenant Day.  

What’s the atmosphere been like at CDS around these topics?  

Margaret: Something I’ve really noticed in the last couple of years is how willing the teachers are to engage in difficult conversations. Especially in Mr. Hill’s class, we’re having conversations that are hard to have about inclusivity and diversity and what that means for our school and beyond. So, I think it’s really encouraging to see our teachers fostering spaces, especially like this one right now, where we can discuss what diversity means to us and what we are hoping for in the future. 

Jennifer: I agree with Margaret that our teachers have done a great job having these conversations about diversity and inclusivity. I feel like there are still more steps we need to take to ensure that in the future, but I think especially in the past year or two it’s been more of a prevalent and relevant topic that needs to be talked about.  

How does it make you feel to have the space for these kinds of conversations at school? 

Margaret: Obviously, this is a school and we come here to learn, but there are hard things we need to be able to talk about. The ways the teachers and students have really stepped up to encourage that change to happen, I have really appreciated that.  

Jennifer: I’ve appreciated that we’ve been able to talk about things even if we have different viewpoints. 

Margaret: I think for the most part, like you said, Jennifer, people have been really respectful. Even if we stand on different sides of an issue, even if an issue is more controversial, I haven’t experienced many times when people are just disrespectful to each other. That’s something I haven’t seen at other schools. I’ve seen a lot more toxic thought other places, and I’ve seen a lot more resistance to discussion. While talking about hard things can get complicated, I think it’s good that we as a student body are open to having these discussions.  

Jennifer: Yeah, like the people I’ve talked to, even if we have different opinions, I know we can still be friends because that’s not what defines us.  

Then what would you say defines you? 

Jennifer: Definitely not our perspectives on different topics. I wouldn’t say they can’t be friends with me because they have a different viewpoint on something.  

Margaret: That’s why it’s great to have these discussions in Bible class with Mr. Hill because there is this underlying knowledge that we are all equal under God; we are all brothers and sisters in Christ; and because of that, there is this underlying encouragement to treat each other as equals. That is a great cornerstone of what we are taught here. I find that reassuring that people aren’t defining me by my different perspectives but by my identity as a Christ-follower.  

What are some of the hard roads you had to travel, and what have you found on the other side?  

Ramierre: For me personally, I came to Covenant Day my sophomore year. I grew up around a lot of people who looked like me. I went to middle school and elementary school at Brookstone, and mostly African American people attended there. When I went to Northside High School my freshman year, it was the same. So, when I came here it was a big difference, like going from the majority to the minority. It was really interesting to see the different experiences and viewpoints people had and trying to learn ways I can relate to them.  

Yeah, I think it’s a really beautiful display of the gospel that we can be different and push into the hard and the difficult, and yet have the foundation of Christ.  

Ramierre: I don’t feel like I don’t belong here if that makes sense. The reason I feel that way is because the people that are in this community are just really great people that I can talk to: teachers, staff, or students.  

Jennifer: It’s the personal relationships. Most people are really intentional. Like in the hallway, people say "hi" and ask how you’re doing, and we do it for everyone.  

Margaret: I mean, we can keep getting better as a community; we can keep making everyone feel more included.  

Jennifer: I agree. I came in my freshman year, and I wouldn’t say I felt out of place, but freshman and sophomore year whenever we had a conversation about race, a lot of people would think I’m African American just because I have brown skin, but I’m actually Dominican. In my junior and senior years, it’s been getting a lot better.  

Ramierre: And I think maturity level has a lot to do with it. The younger students probably don’t know if they say something offensive, so it’s just important to teach them. 

Margaret: And keeping an open mind about learning from others. It’s a conscious effort. 

Jennifer: Like last year, we started Unite and that was really helpful to be able to get together with people and talk through different diversity and cultural issues that were going on in the world. Then feeling like we could do something about it to educate the school. In the same way, we have the Multicultural Club and the International Club, so just different things like that you can be a part of to learn about different cultures. I’ve really appreciated that.  

Margaret: I agree, just all the outlets we have been given, and just the conversations I’ve been having with my peers lately. I don’t know if it’s because we’re getting older, or we’ve been forced into more adult conversations with the changing state of the world, but I feel like our student body is more willing to broach topics that are uncomfortable. I find that encouraging. 

 

God is glorified when people who would have reason to be divided by language, by culture, by history, or by ethnicity are brought together in worship of Jesus Christ.

 

COMMUNITY & DIVERSITY AT CDS