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DEI at Eagle Rock: Fostering Beloved Community and Right Relationship

DEI at Eagle Rock: Fostering Beloved Community and Right Relationship

In the quest for a more just and inclusive society, educational institutions play a crucial role in shaping the perspectives and values of future generations. Here at Eagle Rock, we are committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and our approach is rooted in the concepts of beloved community and right relationship.

A few years ago, Eagle Rock took a transformative step by making anti-racism and social justice its organizational priority. The driving force behind this initiative is the belief that education is not just about knowledge transfer, but also about cultivating a sense of belonging and community among students and staff.

The framework of an infinity symbol guides Eagle Rock's DEI journey. It represents an ongoing cycle of learning and reflection, recognizing that growth is continuous, and no one is ever done in their work within DEI. Within this framework, Eagle Rock fosters affinity spaces, where individuals with shared identities come together, and alliance spaces, where folks with diverse interests and/or backgrounds collectively learn and grow together, and alone spaces where individuals dig into their own journey.

Eagle Rock’s approach is grounded in the following principles:

Intersectionality

  • We recognize that people have multiple dimensions of identity and that each aspect interacts and influences experiences differently

  • Embracing intersectionality allows for a more comprehensive understanding of individuals and their unique perspectives.

Beloved Community

  • Popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., serves as a guiding principle for Eagle Rock's DEI approach

  • Envisions a community where everyone comes together and shares a commitment to progressive and holistic education

  • Aligns with bell hooks' work emphasizing the importance of creating a nurturing environment for young people

Right Relationship

  • Derived from Indigenous wisdom, revolves around approaching relationships with truth, growth, and humility

  • Starts with an honest and authentic relationship with oneself and extends to others

  • In the hiring process, Eagle Rock seeks individuals who are grounded and open to continuous learning to maintain this ethos

“Accomplice” vs “Ally”

  • We encourage individuals to view themselves as "accomplices" in the pursuit of creating an inclusive and valued space for all

  • This shift in language from “ally” to “accomplice” signifies an active role in standing alongside marginalized communities, rather than merely offering support from a distance

The impact of Eagle Rock's DEI efforts extends beyond its staff and faculty. Students are actively engaged in DEI practices, with classes structured thematically around identity development and understanding the world. From required current events caucus sessions to Big Time Talks on topics such as systems thinking, students are encouraged to explore their identities and engage in thought-provoking conversations.

The necessity of this work in the education sphere is evident. Eagle Rock recognizes that preparing students for the real world involves imparting knowledge and understanding that truth is subjective. By acknowledging the history and the complexities of society, students become informed, engaged citizens capable of interpreting and applying knowledge responsibly.

Eagle Rock's commitment to DEI through beloved community and right relationship demonstrates its dedication to fostering a more inclusive and equitable educational space. By actively engaging students and staff in meaningful conversations and reflection, Eagle Rock values continuous improvement and is an institution in the grapple dedicated to shaping compassionate, informed, and responsible global citizens.