Changing Minds in These Changing Times

By Kylie Golden-Appleton, Sophomore, Hershey Montessori School


This past year has been one of much change, both internally and externally, for me, and throughout the world. A growing consciousness of power systems and how they are perpetuated is emerging.

As I entered the Hershey community this year and met new friends, I found a shared interest and calling in exploring these current and historic issues, specifically regarding racism, as a community. Two of these friends, Lucy McNees and Cecilia Carney, and I were particularly inspired by Colorado College’s antiracism initiative. Borrowing from that model, the three of us have worked as co-conspirators with the guidance of Jacqui Miller, Director of Montessori Programming and Operations for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and friend to Hershey, to offer a space for learning and unlearning the truth about racism and equity.

Our Antiracism Initiative offers weekly seminars, programs for significant events and historical dates, and various resources for sharing. This work prompts all of us for personal reflection.

We set up lunch-time seminars, which have created a space for anyone who chooses, students and staff alike, to hold deeper conversations.

Earlier this year, we planned many opportunities for community engagement in honor of Black History Month. The topics of focus were:

  • Why We Have Black History Month
  • Black History in the U.S.
  • African Folklore and Culture
  • History of Medical Racism

Students and guides have gotten involved in various ways, such as doing individual research of specific events and topics, exploring folklore, discussing medical charts, reflecting on the significance of history and how we can carry this energy forward throughout every month.

In March, to honor Women’s History and acknowledge the intersectionality of race and gender, we continued independent research and discussions.

As a book workshop, we are beginning Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and will meet weekly to process as a group.

I have learned that there is no right way to do this work or right path to take, and it has been beautiful to watch how each individual community member approaches this complex question of how to truly embody Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in a meaningful, practical way.

There is much work to do to make this intention — antiracism — a reality, and I hope the momentum from this past month can fuel our growth.