On Thursday, March 25, Indian Creek Upper School students and faculty came together for a special school meeting held to bring awareness to the recent increase in violence and hatred being shown towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the United States and to start a conversation about how the ICS community can become better allies.
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Doug McCuiston opened the assembly by holding a moment of silence for the victims of last week’s shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado. He then addressed the student body, sharing that it is important that as a school community we are aware of what is happening around us and continue to have hard topics about these issues. Mr. McCuiston gave a brief lesson on the long history of racism against Asians in the US
from The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 through the dramatic increase in attacks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed that it is more important than ever for students to practice skills in empathy and civil discourse in order to become better allies able to support and empower all people.
The assembly took on personal meaning for the Upper School as senior Olivia Boucher, who has been an Indian Creek student for 14 years, spoke about her experiences as an Asian American. Born in China and adopted to the U.S. at age one, Olivia shared that racism has been a regular part of her life for years. From hearing jokes about “squinty eyes,” having offensive songs sung around her, and even being cat-called at the bus stop when she was 11 years old, Olivia told her peers that instances of racism happen to her regularly. She described a recent episode where a stranger spit on her and said “Go back to your country,” and another situation where a coffee shop employee would not serve her. “It sticks with you,” she shared.
Olivia told the Upper Schoolers these instances often remain under the radar, but this is not acceptable. “I don’t want to live like that. I don’t think that people should live defined by their races. It’s better to understand and appreciate cultures, rather than insult them or undermine the experiences of people. I don’t want to be known for this. I’d rather be known as someone who works hard and does well at school.” Hearing Olivia’s story had great impact on the students and teachers at ICS and prompted many conversations about what we can do as individuals and as a community to be better allies.
Black Student Alliance President Arija Martin ’21 showed support for Indian Creek’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community members by sharing a statement on behalf of the group:
The Black Student Alliance as well as its individual leaders stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. We extend our deepest condolences to the victims, their families, and the entire AAPI community. Hate crime in any form is unacceptable and should not be tolerated or normalized. We recognize that these acts committed against the AAPI community are another example of white supremacy and white privilege on display. We understand that Anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander racism is not new. However, there has been a recent rise.
We as a school need to work together to build up the Asian American and Pacific Islander students in our community as well as call out any acts of hate, racism, discrimination, and injustice.
We ask that the entire ICS community raise awareness regarding anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander racism. You can find educational resources and ways to contribute on the BSA CREEKnet page.
We recognize that this is a difficult time for people within the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and we are here to support them in any capacity. The Black Student Alliance and its individual leaders do not stand for hate or racism. This is not a trend or a hashtag, but people’s lives. Please don’t be silent about these injustices. Once again, we are here.
Indian Creek’s conversation about building an inclusive community of allies is important and ongoing. More information about work can be found on the ICS website