Diversity and inclusion are important to the Friends School of Minnesota community as demonstrated in our mission statement, diversity statement and our actions.

A part of the diversity statement says, “Our vision is to ensure that all members of the FSM community feel that they are known and that they belong. Recognizing and appreciating that our differences make our experiences of the world fuller, we seek to build a community that is diverse.”

The diversity statement is connected to the mission statement that says, “The Friends School of Minnesota prepares children to embrace life, learning, and community with hope, skill, understanding and creativity. We are committed to the Quaker values of peace, justice, simplicity, and integrity.”

The mission statement values peace and justice. Diversity is vital to peace and justice so that we can appreciate each other, Pema quoteJPEGand understand each other’s point of view. This teaches us to not be quick to judge and to care for others, not only ourselves. What this means to me is that this school and community is a very safe and comfortable place to grow and change into whoever we want to be.

There are about 30% people of color at Friends School. I like that our school has people of different colors because it shows that our school is open to anyone joining this school, no matter their race.

There are many different kinds of families at FSM such as families with two moms, multiracial families, single moms, and adoptive families. There are also a lot of different students who go to Friends School. Students who may have felt they didn’t fit in at other schools, find inclusion at this school. FSM helps students find inclusion by having a no bullying policy and by having a diverse group of students. Inclusion is also important to me because I feel proud that we accept so many people of different races, genders, and families. I feel like this school accepts us for who we are and what we want to become. I feel comfortable and included in this school because I am not the only person of color, and I am treated with respect like everyone else.

Economic diversity is important to FSM. People have different economic backgrounds at FSM. FSM helps by trying to keep tuition as low as possible, and the school covers all of the school field trips so everyone can go. For example, 7th and 8th grade went to Wolf Ridge and everyone got to go. I really honored this because I made some great memories and saw amazing things at Wolf Ridge, and I’m glad that everyone else could experience this, too. No one had to pay money for those memories.

This school not only teaches us academic things such as math, science, history etc., FSM also teaches us about real world situations such as immigration, race, slavery, and world religions. One example of this was in sixth grade when we learned about race and racism. We learned about how race plays a roll in our own lives and how to talk about it comfortably. We also learned about how other people are treated badly because of their skin color. These types of bigger world ideas and topics help me and other students value and understand people from different backgrounds. Having mixed groups of friends, learning to solve problems with words, including everyone in what you are doing, all of this helps prepare us for life outside of Friends School of Minnesota.

-Pema wrote this article during a writing workshop in January.