Diversity Consultant Rosetta Lee speaks to upper school


Rosetta Lee speaking at the diversity, equity and Inclusion leadership series. She is the Diversity Consultant for Archer this year. Photo Source: Dominque Cadenas ’19

“Remember to be A DEAR” was a central message that Diversity Consultant Rosetta Lee presented to the upper school on Friday, Sept. 28. Lee spoke about the importance of engaging in difficult conversations about diversity.

This was not Lee’s first time at Archer. She was the keynote speaker in 2014 for the annual Diversity Conference and is considered one of the “best diversity practitioners in the country,” Warner, upper school director at Archer, said.

Warner said she was “moved” by Lee’s Diversity Conference presentation because it resonated so strongly with the community.

“She is a middle school teacher, so she knows the importance of the relationship,” Warner said. “Even when she’s speaking to a crowd of 1000, she still has that personal connection.”

Archer hired Lee as a Diversity Consultant to help the school incorporate inclusive practices. Warner said it is “important” to have an expert like Lee to give her input on what is best for the future of Archer.

“When we were thinking about this year and really affirming our commitment to supporting students and faculty as it to relates to equity centered teaching and learning, she just stood out as somebody who knew Archer and was an expert in the field,” Warner said. “[We saw her as] someone who could really help us to work with our community to refine our foundation of beliefs and our instructional practices around inclusive pedagogy and culture.”

Lee has brought multiple suggestions to the Archer campus. One of her ideas was the organization and grouping of clubs. There are now two different subsections of clubs.  One called the triple As or AAA, which stands for alliance, affinity or activism.  The other subsection is for social clubs, such as the Harry Potter Club or the Leaf Club.

When speaking to the upper school, Lee encouraged the community to embrace uncomfortable discussions surrounding identity.

“We live in a world where courage is really discouraged,” Lee said.  “There are myths out there that get in the way of us engaging authentically.”

Her acronym, “Remember to be A DEAR,” is used to facilitate such “challenging” conversations. Each of the letters represents a different technique to use when asking someone to change a hurtful phrase or behavior. The letters stand for the following: 

  • A — affirm the person, relationship or value
  • D — describe without judgement
  • E — explain the impact and emotions
  • A — assume positive intention
  • R — request a different behavior.

“We equate mistakes around identity, difference and experience as somehow an indication of somebody’s moral worth. We are socialized to never apologize if we didn’t mean it,” Lee said. “Good people can make mistakes because we are not taught about topics like identity, difference and oppression when we are young.”

Lee ended with a take-away on how to become a more self-aware, communicative person.

“I want you to think about…the moments that bother you and [be] prepared,” Lee said. “Find your bucket people—those folks that share your identity or know enough about the experience that you can talk about it and emotionally discharge so that you can find solace and serenity before you have these conversations.”