The Millennium and Piedmont High Schools, in partnership with PADC, are pleased to present Unity In Community, Empathy In Action, this Sunday, April 22, from 1-3pm, at the Piedmont Community Center and Park.
This will be a fun and engaging festival, focused on building empathy and taking action to support a more inclusive community. The festival will feature youth-led booths, and performances by students from local area middle and high schools, hands-on activities ranging from kid-friendly arts and crafts games to stations dedicated for letter-writing to congress members. There will be fun and learning for all ages. Show your support for building a more inclusive community. Come join the fun!
Presented by Piedmont Appreciating Diversity (PADC) and the City of Piedmont
January 15th, 2018; 12:00-2:30 PM
Coming together for 21 years to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., this year’s memorial celebration will focus on the work we must continue as a community and our individual abilities to “Bending the Arc” towards Dr. King’s vision of a moral universe of inclusion, equality and justice. The program will feature inspiring performances by:
Speakers include the Honorable Barbara Lee, U.S. Congresswoman, 13th District of California, and the Honorable Tony Thurmond, CA Assemblyman, 15th District.
Piedmont Veteran's Memorial Hall
401 Highland Ave, Piedmont CA 94611
VISIT US HERE TO RSVP
Hello friends of Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee,
You are cordially invited to our next General Membership Meeting this coming Thursday, October 12, from 7:00-9:00pm, at 250 Estates Drive, Piedmont, CA. This is a great opportunity to check in with each other, and to share updates on the great work you and your fellow PADC members are doing. Hope to see you at the meeting,
Your 2017/18 PADC Team.
PS: You'll automatically be enrolled in our Active Members' discussion forum if you come to a General Meeting. If you can't make it on Thursday, but still want to join the discussion, drop us a line, and we'll take care of it!
2 FREE Screenings
In Piedmont: Wednesday, September 27
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont
6:30 pm Free reception | 7 – 8:30 pm screening followed by discussion
In Oakland: Sunday, October 1
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street Oakland 3:00 pm
Members of the Trump administration have raised the specter of a Muslim registry and instituted an immigration ban against people from Muslim majority countries, citing the unconstitutional incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as precedent for its actions. Social Action Media As our opening film this fall, ADFS will present the powerful 2017 documentary And Then They Came for Us — a film that demonstrates that the registration and incarceration of Japanese Americans was one of the worst violations of constitutional rights in American history, and features survivors of that experience who are speaking out today.
Presented by the Appreciating Diversity Film Series, proudly celebrating 20 years of top-quality, diversity-related documentaries.
City Council Members Jen Cavenaugh and Teddy King, and School Board Members Cory Smegal, Sarah Pearson, and Andrea Swensen and Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee (PADC) invite you to come together for a screening of The Force, Pete Nicks' compelling documentary about the Oakland Police Department.
You are cordially invited to PADC's September General Membership Meeting this Thursday the 14th, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Shoot us an RSVP, and we'll save you a spot. Hope to see you Thursday.
We are at a crucial juncture in our city’s history. Piedmont has seen an increase in in hate speech and bigotry over the last year, including the harmful posts and comments made by our now former mayor. The community was outraged by this, and clearly expressed their expectations that our leaders promote inclusiveness and diversity, and that they be accountable for their actions and speech.
While it might be a relief to see one issue addressed, the reality is that there have been persistent problems with diversity and inclusion in Piedmont that will not go away without further action. This is the time to capture our public swell of support for tolerance and diversity and direct it toward lasting change, rather than only responding to individual issues that arise.
The good news is that community leaders have already begun taking steps to promote anti-bias and inclusiveness. City Council members approved a resolution reaffirming Piedmont’s Commitment to Inclusivity and Opposing Actions of Hate Groups. The Piedmont Unified School District offered anti-bias training and classroom curriculum to the administration, faculty and staff; and opened the training up to city staff and community leaders as well. However, if we want lasting change to occur, we all need to take action at the community level. Our leaders speak for us at times, but we must also speak for ourselves, and to each other. Here are a few steps you can take, which we at the PADC believe can help our community directly:
An Interfaith Prayer Service of Peace
Saturday, August 26 4 PM
Temple Beth Abraham 327 MacArthur Blvd Oakland, California
Come together as a community of peace and love in response to the hate marches occurring in our nation. Following a traditional Jewish "Mincha" (Afternoon) service, various local clergy members will be asked to present a brief offering of prayer from their traditions. The service will include musical selections by Benjamin Mertz of the Joyful Noise! Gospel Singers. Benjamin is also the Music Director at Skyline UCC.
Free child care will be provided
Refreshments will be served
Any questions, please call Rabbi Mark Bloom at 510-832-0936
On Monday, August 21 PADC City Liaisons David Gard and Mahvash Hassan presented remarks to the City Council during the public comments section.
Good Evening, my name is David Gard and I am here along with Mahvash Hassan representing the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee as city liaisons . It’s just the two of us here from PADC as the rest of the committee is at our first member meeting of the academic year. As you know, PADC works to promote inclusiveness, foster an appreciation of differences, and raise global awareness within Piedmont and surrounding communities.
We were reminded last week of the importance of our work with the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Heather Heyer, before she was killed by an alleged Nazi sympathizer, posted on Facebook, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”,. This past week, that is the sentiment we continue to hear from our community members. We know, and you know, that here in Piedmont, we are not immune to hate and bias - it was just 3 months ago that the school district responded to anti-Semitism and racism on campus. And this coming weekend, there are at least 2 white supremacist events planned within miles of these city council chambers.
This past week Charlottesville’s mayor Michael Signer wrote, “The people who visited terror on us were using the mechanics of the Constitution — freedom of speech, freedom of assembly — to attack its soul, to set fire to the pillars of civility, deliberation, compromise, tolerance and reconciliation that underwrite our system of government….it is this soul — the norms and values, that enable us to collectively solve problems without force, violence and intimidation.”
So here in Piedmont, how do we channel our community’s soul our norms and values that underwrite our system of government to collectively address the reality of hate and bias?
The good news is that we have a lot to build on, and we are moving in the right direction. Over the years, the institutions in our community – the city, schools and faith leaders have stood up and collaborated with PADC to build an inclusive Piedmont.
For example, at a city council meeting in 2010, after several wrenching testimonials from residents about mistreatment by the police, then-City Administrator Geoff Grote admonished the council to instruct the City to act. That pivotal moment, inspired and stimulated a multi-year process of introspection, action and the transformation of policing in Piedmont.
Last fall, November 2016, in a letter sent jointly by the Board of Education and City Council, you as Council members committed to:
We encourage City Council members to also continue acting and speaking on their stated commitments from the November letter, and to work in ways that reflects the norms and values of a welcoming and inclusive Piedmont:
On May 24th, 2017, Kobi Eshun, PADC Co-President, along with some administrators and community members, addressed and discussed with the PUSD Board concerns, progress and how to move forward in managing the latest incidents at PHS, MHS and PMS.
Please also view recommendations for curriculum, by Shannon Fierro, VP Administration at Berkeley High School, in details on our "Resources" page on this website.
Below are Kobi's remarks:
On Monday, May 8, Randy Booker invited me and fellow PADC co-president Alison Feldman to inform us about a special assembly planned for that day. Since then the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee has been in ongoing conversations with the school district, parent support groups and community members to determine how best to be a resource for students, staff and community members. PADC has also heard from dozens of concerned residents, young and old, sharing their stories and feelings. Here are some of the themes that have emerged:
As a community we are deeply hurt and angry about the series of anti-semitic incidents. Certainly, Alison and I walked out of that first meeting with Randy feeling shocked and dismayed at what we learned. And there is a range of opinions on the discipline that followed; as well on as the focus these incidents brought on school climate in general.
We heard that some members of the Jewish community felt indignant that black kids complaining about being treated like a curiosity by their peers (e.g. constantly having their hair messed with) was somehow equivalent to the pain of The Holocaust. The takeaway here is that
there are factions forming within our community, at a time when we need to come together.
This is a community-wide issue not just a school issue, and we have to figure out how best to build community resilience to support and nurture our young people given the shifts in the broader social context, the nature of still forming youth and the need for all of us - adults and youth to learn from our mistakes. And to continue to build community. While some members of the community see the events as an opportunity to build alliances, students and adults are feeling quite polarized.
Many of our youth simply don't find this charged language (or these acts) to be offensive. It's unclear whether they're unaware of the historical genesis and implications of these slurs, or whether they choose to interpret them as benign. This is a complex and important observation to dig into.
We recognize that the news coverage of the anti-semitic incidents was sensational and inflammatory, but we have also continued to hear that it did give voice to the reality that students of color have been putting up with this crap for ever, and feel that their pleas for support have gone unheard by the school district.
Some kids experienced varying degrees of backlash after the special assembly, and after the KTVU news segment aired. Some of these actions are being investigated by the police department as potential hate crimes. These developments were astonishing and deeply saddening for all of our active members.
We heard, loud and clear, a need for forums for people to discuss and process these events. We heard from students, who organized a Share Your Voice gathering last week; and also from parent groups, who are exploring some options for adults. At a minimum, we at PADC would like to help create a safe space where our youth can share their stories without fear of retribution or judgement. We're also available to partner with other groups addressing this.
There is a sense that the school district was caught flat-footed with all of this. And many people felt left in the dark about what specifically had happened, and when. The second, district-wide letter did much to alleviate this, but some students wished they too had received additional clarifying information directly.
Unfortunately, these recent incidents of harassment and discrimination are not an aberration. Racist graffiti has been an ongoing problem. Brown kids in elementary school threatened with deportation, or vilified as terrorists, by peers on the playground. How can we forget the FSL insanity from 2012? It's clear that the social climate in our schools breeds this behavior. We need to take a hard look in the mirror and own that reality. We must, as a community, urgently address this issue. And not just because it's obviously the right thing to do. If we fail to act, we risk getting sued.
We are actually optimistic that Piedmont can figure this out, because we've done this before. At a city council meeting in 2010, after several wrenching testimonials from residents about mistreatment by the police, then-City Administrator Geoff Grote admonished the council to instruct the City to act, because if we do not act, we will get sued. That was a pivotal moment, and we now have a first rate, progressive police department that we can be proud of. We also know that you share our values -- for example, your forceful response to the Pig's Head incident and sidewalk graffiti last November was truly exemplary.
Tonight, on behalf of the community, we are asking the School Board to act swiftly and decisively. We know from this precedent that change will not come overnight -- it took years of training and renewal to transform PPD. But, with the coordinated and sustained support of school leadership, the city, and the community, we can do this.
Finally, we’d like to offer a specific recommendation for what Diversity Education could look like in PUSD. I’ll touch on highlights. Full document and additional resources will be available on our website.
To support the development of the whole child in PUSD and improve the climate and culture of our schools and community by providing students with the language and tools to successfully navigate issues of diversity both interpersonally and within society.
- To integrate explicit diversity education into the K-12 curriculum including both student learning objectives and experiential objectives such as celebrations and events.
- To develop a K-12 scope and sequence of diversity education for PUSD. Curriculum should address the four following areas of diversity education:
- To identify lab classrooms in the 6th and 9th grades in which aspects of an explicit diversity curriculum can begin to take shape and be piloted in 17-18.
This is a review of events since early May at PHS, MHS and PMS. It outlines a series of extremely offensive actions by a number of students, along with efforts by PADC and PUSD to respond. While most of the offensive acts took place before May, some have occurred since then. Our intent is to collect and present the public knowledge at this time, and to add updates as more information is available.
In the months before between January and May, 2017, some students at Piedmont High School engaged in a series of insulting actions, including: arranging themselves on the floor into the shape of a swastika, making “Heil Hitler” salutes in the hallways, and making comments including “f***ing Jew”, “burn in Auschwitz”, “n**ger”, and “go back to the plantation” to other students.
What PADC is doing:
A few more 2017 Community Nite tickets are still available here. Doors open at 7:00, and the music and poetry will start at 7:30:
If you have never attended a PADC Community Night event, then you are missing out. On March 25th, PADC celebrates its 2017 Community Night with an all star line-up of musicians and performers. Come celebrate with us at the Impact Hub in Oakland.
This year's program will include performances by the all-star jazz band Mingus Amungus, led by Piedmont resident Miles Perkins; and the young Piedmont poets of Together We Slam (a truly soul raising experience).
Don’t miss this!
Concert proceeds benefit PADC’s Grants Program, which funds educational programming, events and materials supporting and promoting diversity in the Piedmont schools
Date/Time: SATURDAY MARCH 25 @ 7:00PM
Location: Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway
Great coverage of our Unity In Community event here: Piedmont: Community rally set March 4 to promote inclusivity
Berkeley High Vice Principal and PADC member Shannon Fierro put together some helpful thoughts and resources for educators. While some of the content is specifically about inauguration, most of it is about how to continue having important conversations about equity.
While it may be difficult for many teachers to dedicate an entire class period to discussing the inauguration, we want to offer some ideas that may help you choose the path that is right for you and your students.
Our first piece of advice is to simply be responsive to where your students are, and the energy in the room. You could start by a simple check in or writing prompt, “how are you doing today?” Being honest about how you are doing, and giving a little time to check in will send a message to students that you are making space for their full selves. Please be aware that you may have students in your class who feel particularly targeted by the incoming administration and may be experiencing an even deeper level of stress and anxiety. If you a perceive a student to be struggling, we encourage you to make a decision that accesses your relationship with that young person. If you feel comfortable, have a word with them in the hallway. You could also ask them if they need a break from class, and use one of your 2 break passes that were provided to us this week. Please also be aware that you may have students who will feel fine, and may be happy about the outcome of the election. There have been some conflicts since Nov. 8th, and we want to be sure to remind our students of our expectation that they be civil to each other.
If you do choose to dedicate significant class time to the inauguration, there are an infinite number of directions you could go in. We are including resources below. We encourage you to share other ideas and resources that you may have as well. Please remember to take care of yourselves and remember that ours is a collective journey.
Berkeley High School
JOIN THE PIEDMONT APPRECIATING DIVERSITY COMMITTEE, FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & PIEDMONT COMMUNITY LEADERS FOR THE WOMAN's MARCH - OAKLAND
Upcoming Event: City of Piedmont’s 20th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. Sponsored by the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee (PADC), and The City of Piedmont
2017 Theme: Bystander or Ally? Deciding When to Act
Location and Time Information
Monday January 16, 1:00-3:30pm
Piedmont Veterans Hall
401 Highland Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611
This event is free and open to the public
Piedmont: Diversity panel denounces Sims killing, recalls musician’s involvement with city - article from the Piedmonter, November 30, 2016
PIEDMONT — As communities around the Bay Area mourn the killing of young, talented musician William Sims, the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee that advocates for tolerance and respect for all people expressed shock and dismay of a possible hate crime against Sims. “Piedmont knew Will through his performances with Oaktown Jazz (Workshops) at our Martin Luther King celebrations over the years. We are deeply saddened by this tragic event, and also alarmed to see hate crimes happening,” PADC executive board member and former co-president Margaret Huang said Wednesday. “We mourn Will’s murder and will continue to work to promote and practice inclusiveness within Piedmont and surrounding communities,” Huang said. “We encourage anyone with information on the case to work with police so that justice will be served. Our prayers and positive energy to out to his family and his many friends. ”Sims’ mentors at Oaktown Jazz Workshops also expressed sadness and remembrances. Sims played with Oaktown Jazz Workshops from age 13 to 18.
The Oaktown Jazz Workshops appears annually at the MLK Day commemorations in Piedmont, as well as at other city events. Oakland-based Oaktown Jazz Workshops is an after-school music education program that draws younge people from all over the Bay Area.“Will was an ‘in-the-moment’ type of person with a peaceful vibe,” said Ravi Abcarian, executive director for Oaktown Jazz Workshops. “He enjoyed the collaborative aspect of music playing piano with a full group sound with the other musicians.“I met him when he was a young teenager in his formative years,” Abcarian continued. “His family was very supportive of him and his music. They were always driving him to different performances and rehearsals, a very engaged family.“He was also a good singer but we didn’t know that at the time because he was a little shy. I know he also later played other instruments. I know that he was targeted and it had nothing to do with a disagreement, but purely a hate crime. It is shocking,” Abcarian said.
The gentle, talented 28-year-old African American man was beaten, robbed and shot Nov. 12 at an El Sobrante pool hall, his body dumped on a roadway. The Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee called for donations to a gofundme account set up for Sims and posted on Facebook: “We mourn the senseless death of Will Sims, a graduate of Oakland School for the Arts and Oaktown Jazz Workshops as an alumnus from 2001 to 2006. He performed at many Piedmont MLK celebrations. “Piedmont resident Lois Corrin, an African American who for years organized the annual MLK Day event in Piedmont, expressed her sorrow about the death.“It is just despicable,” Corrin said. “A voice of jazz is not here any more; he was much too young (to die). He spread joy. We have to have peace and get along embracing and loving each other. No intolerance.“Who do these (suspects) think they were? He was an ambassador for humanity, another one of ours taken, a (sorrow) for both for the African American and the overall community.”
According to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, a group of men jumped Sims inside the Capri Club. One suspect has been arrested, 31-year-old Daniel Porter-Kelly of Richmond. Sims was also a Richmond resident.The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office have charged Porter-Kelly with murder, with a hate crime enhancement. Two other suspects are being sought in connection with the crime, 32-year-old Ray Simons of Hercules, and 31-year-old Daniel Ortega, from Richmond or Novato.
Sims’ family spokesman James Harris said Sims also played guitar, saxophone and violin and was self-taught. He continued playing and singing at jazz festivals throughout Northern California. Sims was “a very gentle soul who didn’t have any problems with anyone,” Harris said in news accounts.Abcarian said Oaktown Jazz Workshops, as well as some community colleges and music programs, will be planning a tribute to Sims in the near future.
Note: A gofundme account has been established to help the Sims family with funeral and other expenses. Donate at www.gofundme.com/William-Simms-jr-memorial-fund-share. As of Tuesday, $16,515 had been raised.
November 21, 2016
Dear Piedmont Neighbors,
Reactions to the national election and recent alarming acts of prejudice and bigotry in Piedmont have led us to reflect on our values and who we are as community leaders. While we may have differing political, religious, social, or sexual orientations, we each feel strongly that, at our very core, we value diversity, respect, and inclusivity.
We, along with Piedmont Unified School District and City of Piedmont staff, are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and civil community through our policies, our programming, and our leadership. We stand firm in our collective belief that a safe and civil environment in our schools and across Piedmont is paramount.
To be clear, we will stand firmly united to promote acceptance and kindness, and we will stand up to bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and violence. We will stand in support of our diverse community, honoring and protecting every resident regardless of race, creed, color, gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, orientation, or identity. We will strongly uphold our established policies prohibiting discrimination, hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes, hazing, harassment, intimidation, bullying, cyberbullying, and other disruptive or violent behaviors in our schools and our city.
The City and the School District share these values. The City Administrator and the School Superintendent collaborate to ensure that our community is welcoming and works together for the betterment of its citizens. Our Police and Fire Departments, along with all City Department Services, work in concert to keep our residents safe and secure. Our teachers are holding age-appropriate discussions with students, including reminders about the importance of reflection, respect, and civic engagement. They teach our students the skills, attitudes, and competencies to stand in the shoes of others; exercise empathy; speak out against bullying; make responsible, caring choices; solve problems peacefully; and, as they grow up, become the architects of a better world.
We recognize that we live in challenging times and navigating the waters ahead may not always be smooth. We want to reassure our community that we will take care of each other, we will respect each other, and we will not tolerate the intolerable. By focusing on our shared values of respect and inclusivity, we have an opportunity to come together to be our best selves, to support each other, and to strengthen our community.
Piedmont Board of Education
Andrea Swenson, President
Sarah Pearson, Vice President
Amal Smith, Member
Doug Ireland, Member
Rick Raushenbush, Member
Cory Smegal, Member-elect
Piedmont City Council
Jeff Wieler, Mayor
Robert McBain, Vice Mayor
Teddy Gray King, Councilmember
Jonathan Levine, Councilmember
Tim Rood, Councilmember
Jennifer Cavanaugh, Councilmember-elect
Randall Booker, Superintendent, Piedmont Unified School District
Our community and others across the United States have in the past weeks experienced incidents of hatred and intimidation meant to exclude and isolate members of our society. To the extent that the results of the presidential election have been interpreted by some to mean that racist, sexist or xenophobic attacks are in any way acceptable, the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee (PADC) stands firmly opposed to such behavior. We are and will continue to be a resource for those who find themselves in need of support and advocacy.
Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us
By Claude M. Steele
Through dramatic personal stories, Claude Steele shares the experiments and studies that show, again and again, that exposing subjects to stereotypes—merely reminding a group of female math majors about to take a math test, for example, that women are considered naturally inferior to men at math—impairs their performance in the area affected by the stereotype. Steele’s conclusions shed new light on a host of American social phenomena, from the racial and gender gaps in standardized test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men. Steele explicates the dilemmas that arise in every American’s life around issues of identity, from the white student whose grades drop steadily in his African American Studies class to the female engineering students deciding whether or not to attend predominantly male professional conferences. Whistling Vivaldi offers insight into how we form our senses of identity and ultimately lays out a plan for mitigating the negative effects of “stereotype threat” and reshaping American identities.
About this author
Claude M. Steele is a former professor at Stanford University who is now executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley. Read more about this book, including quotes from the text, at this link