Peddie’s Second DEI Day


Imani Barbarin speaks to Peddie students in the Winter DEI Day.

Elizabeth Rao '25, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, January 18, The Peddie School had its second Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Day of the year, which focused on ability and ableism. Diku Rogers, Director of DEI, described her goals: “When we craft a DEI Day, we want members of the community to experience windows and mirrors, meaning that a part of the programming might resonate with their lived experience, or it invites them to consider the experiences of others.” 

The day started with opening remarks by Head of School Peter Quinn, who remarked on COVID-19 procedures, and a few other members of the DEI committee, remarking on the importance of discussing ability and its impact on the modern world. Following that, a guest speaker, Imani Barbarin, was introduced. Barbarin is a disability activist and blogger who created many trending hashtags. She discussed issues about ableism in modern times, using examples from her personal life to exemplify the issues disabled people are facing right now. Grace Edelstein ’23, a member of the DEI Student Council, commented, “I particularly enjoyed the Imani Barbarin speech; I think she provided lots of valuable information relevant to present-day issues … I also found the information she shared about the intersectionality of disabilities to be interesting, especially with regard to socioeconomic status and how that can, in turn, affect housing and medical care.”

After hearing from Imani Barbarin, students split into two groups, blue and gold. The blue group listened to a workshop led by Christina Irene, an advocate of hidden disabilities, then had lunch and student-led information sessions. They also had a break before the final session. The gold group had a break and lunch first. Then they went to student-led information sessions and listened to Christina Irene. For the student-led information sessions, people were assigned to various groups where they learned about and discussed various types of disabilities. Edelstein, who was also a student facilitator, was glad that she “was able to hear students’ thoughts about ways in which Peddie can better serve individuals with disabilities.”

The day ended with closing remarks made by the DEI committee and student council and a presentation by math teacher David Luo about his stump arm. With many wondering why a day was taken off to reflect on the community’s perception of ability, Rogers answered, “Although class time and downtime are important, DEI days should not be seen as the time taken away from classes or as a ‘day off’… DEI days are another way we engage in community education outside of the classroom. DEI days are in alignment with our mission and core values, and we truly want the conversations that take place during DEI Day to continue on throughout the term and school year.”

Reflecting on this DEI day, many were eager to find ways to improve it. Edelstein hoped that the “next DEI day incorporates more voices of people within our community. Seeing and hearing people we interact with every day is an essential step in creating a more inclusive and equitable community.”