The Seeds of Change

November 6, 2020

The students, faculty, and staff at Archbishop Murphy High School (AMHS) are doing more than just talking about change.

They’re actually making it happen.

“We had some really passionate faculty members supporting a group of students called the Leaders of Change who wanted to be a positive force for equity and inclusion in our school,” said Alicia Mitchell, principal of AMHS. “This movement—it started from the ground up. Coming in as a new principal, I wanted to see how I could support them from the top down. Work that starts organically in a school can have such a power to it if there’s administrative support.”

Alicia applied to the Fulcrum Foundation for funds and received a Building Diversity and Inclusion Program grant.

Then, she hit the ground running.

“We had some intensive sessions led by Kisha Palmer at the Institute for Inclusive Leadership over the summer to more fully define our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and plan professional development for the faculty in August,” Alicia said.

The training, funded through the Fulcrum grant, proved even more critical after a summer of protests following the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“Our students were starting to come to us to make sense of a world that is even more confusing and complicated now,” Alicia said. “We wanted to equip our faculty and staff with the right tools to build understanding and create safe spaces for conversations about race and social justice.”

But the AMHS community didn’t stop there. The school brought in Dr. Scottie Nash from the Anti-Defamation League to train staff about bias, unconscious bias, and micro-aggressions. Students in the ASB and the Leaders of Change are now planning to implement the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” initiative. Faculty members are leading book studies on diversity and inclusion topics, while AMHS’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee prepares to attend the virtual People of Color Conference later this year, made possible in part by the Fulcrum grant.

“I would give the Fulcrum Foundation a lot of credit for all of this,” Alicia said. “The grant we received absolutely made the momentum of all this possible. I always say that you never know where the seeds you’re planting are going to take root. Archbishop Murphy is on its own journey now and I hope it will be a powerful one.”