GPA 7th grader nominated for metro area diversity advocacy honor

Third year in a row that a member of the GPA community has been honored by local nonprofit.

Grosse Pointe Academy seventh-grader and “Diversity Champion” Mallory Childs says she wants to help create and maintain an environment that not only is safe and welcomes differences, but also one that “celebrates differences.”

Mallory Childs, a seventh grader in The Grosse Pointe Academy’s middle school, has been nominated as a “Diversity Champion” by the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force, a metro Detroit-area nonprofit group organized to improve race relations throughout metro Detroit and foster a climate that promotes inclusiveness and values diversity.

Childs will join others nominated at the Diversity Champion Breakfast on May 2 at 7:30 p.m., which will be held at The Community House in Birmingham.

According to Megan Black, GPA’s technology and learning specialist and the school’s diversity chair, Childs will be honored for her work with SAFE (Students Advocating for Equity), the program she developed to help promote equity and celebrate diversity in the Academy, especially in the middle school.

“In the past year, Mallory has shifted our school into a more intentional community that works to overcome racism and promote equity and inclusion,” Black said. “Her SAFE program is planning workshops and curriculum changes that will deepen our community’s understanding of the experiences and contributions of people of color throughout history.”

Black also notes that Childs may be only the second person under the age of 17 to become a Diversity Champion in the Task Force’s 30-year history.

“Last year, our Montessori directress Cindy Mayilukila was honored and the year before, Sasha Murphy, GPA’s dean of students, teacher, student council advisor and community service coordinator, received a “Champions’ nomination,” she added.

Childs began the school’s SAFE program late last year because she thought it was important to create a safe space for students to discuss equity issues at school. In fact, she was one of the first to step forward during the most recent GPA Spoken Word Night to make a statement about diversity, equity and inclusiveness.

Childs performed as part of the school’s first Spoken Word Night on Nov. 30. Childs also discussed the SAFE (Students Advocating for Equity) program, which she initiated to help promote equity and celebrate diversity, especially in the middle school.

“I know for certain I am here to create a change,” said Childs, who has been a GPA student since the first grade. “I believe I am here to help create an environment that is SAFE, and an environment that not only welcomes differences, but celebrate differences.”

She also notes that the world today seems to be bombarded us with “isms”: racism, feminism, sexism, and all the other isms one sees today.

“We have the opportunity, however, to change the status quo and create an even better, long-lasting tradition here at the Academy,” she said. “We have the opportunity to truly develop a powerful capacity for wisdom and success that applies classroom learning to our lives, beliefs, and values – a philosophy that emboldens students to accomplish incredible things long after they graduate.”

So far this year, Childs’ SAFE program at the Academy has helped establish and organize:
– Spoken Word Night, where students and faculty share poems and prose about their identities
– Black History Month Film Night at which attendees watched “Remember the Titans”
– Follow-up discussions to the Black History Month film about race in the middle school social studies classes, which were facilitated by C’Ardiss Gardner Gleser, a GPA parent and Yale Equity Impact Award winner
– Lunchtime “Drop-in Discussions” about diversity, equity and inclusion issues
– The “Buddy Read-Aloud” program for Black History Month and Women’s History Month

More on the Diversity Champion honor:
Each year, the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force invites every business, non-profit, public agency or faith community in the metro Detroit area to give special recognition to one individual whose vision of diversity has created a significant impact on others. According to the group, those honored make an invaluable contribution by helping to ensure that “all people feel included and empowered in the shared endeavors of your organization and in our larger community.” Enrollment of honorees is inclusive and non-competitive.