Danville School Board approves diversity proclamation

Published 8:21 am Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Danville School Board has made a proclamation that states why diversity in communities is important in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

After reading aloud the proclamation titled, “Why is Diversity Important?” during its meeting on Monday, board member Wade Stanfield said, “We as a board are here with you. We are willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure that we are all a part of the solution.”

He added, “Please know that we understand that sometimes these kinds of conversations are very hard to have and sometimes they’re difficult. But we’re not afraid to have them.”

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The proclamation reads:

“Diversity is so important in our lives but often it’s forgotten and or taken for granted. Having a society that wholeheartedly accepts us, our neighbors, for who we are and welcomes people from all walks of life despite their cultural beliefs, political beliefs and religious beliefs.

Diversity is important because it provides opportunities for all of us to learn from one another, not to be tolerated, but to be understood and valued. Diversity creates a view of our community that is forever evolving, changing, growing, and encompassing the grand idea we all belong as separate parts that join together to create our community.

Diversity is hard work, it’s messy, unpredictable, heart wrenching, heart warming, disruptive, calming and it’s sometimes called a relationship. Standing together, believing in one another, learning from each other and accepting each other, that’s diversity.”

Stanfield then said, “That is a statement that we would like to place in our community on behalf of this board.”

He added, “Also speaking as a parent of two black sons, both who attended Danville schools … I want to say how heart-warming it really is to know that I live in a community and that my son attends a school that can have that diverse population,” which is also a “snapshot” of what the world looks like outside of Danville when he leaves Danville High School.

Stanfield said his older son, who has already graduated, has commented many times about his experience in the school district. “That puts a smile on my face,” Stanfield said.

Board member Troy McCowan, who has four daughters and a son who have attended Danville schools said, “It’s a blessing to be within a school system with so much diversity.”

Board member Lori Finke said she also has two sons attending Danville schools.

“The world looks more like Danville than it does in a lot of our neighboring areas, and I want them to be prepared for the world and to look and understand,” she said.

The board’s desire for the district to be accepting of diversity “needs to go on continuously, and not stop now,” Finke said. She added that board members will listen to any of the public’s ideas on how to keep the momentum going.

Board chair Steve Becker said the district’s vision statement states, “All students will graduate with the skills and knowledge for success in their chosen path and be prepared for civic engagement in a diverse society.”

He then added, “We can’t just say it, we have to live it, and we are.”