Yesterday, Dr. Derrick Gay—internationally renowned consultant on issues of diversity—spent the day on campus, speaking with parents, students and faculty. His visit was generously funded by the Gill St. Bernard's Parents' Association.
Through his presentations, Dr. Gay engaged the community by looking at ways in which perceptions of others (and of ourselves) are shaped by social priming in media, advertisements, and even how most maps de-emphasize the importance of other parts of the world. Reflecting on the presentations, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Tracey Goodson Barrett said, "We all possess these blind spots, and it is important to be cognizant of their impact on our lives and on the lives of our students as our world becomes increasingly globalized and interconnected."
In addition, Dr. Gay emphasized that often students believe that because they attend the same school, each student also perceives and experiences the world similarly. Research suggests, however, that who we are and how others view us inform how we unconsciously view others —and conversely how others view us. Through interactive exercises, Dr. Gay provided students with concrete tools to deconstruct language and popular images. He also led them through exercises to consider their own identities in personal and meaningful ways.
Dr. Gay is an international education consultant with two decades of experience as a classroom teacher, musical director and senior administrator. A sought-after speaker, facilitator and keynote, Dr. Gay has partnered with hundreds of education, arts and philanthropic organizations, domestically and abroad. In this capacity, he collaborates with thought leaders to cultivate cultural competency, promote empathy and deepen inclusion.
He has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR and on 60 Minutes in addition to having produced two TEDx Talks. An expert on global education, Dr. Gay delivered the 2016 keynote at the Association for the Advancement of International Education and the 2017 Education First Keynote in Lima, Peru. This year, he will keynote at the American Association of French Schools in North America, and The National Guild for Community Arts Educators, among others.