JEDI sparks diversity conversation

Gitika Gorthi creates a JEDI dream board to capture JEDI's vision.

photo used with permission of Gitika Gorthi

Gitika Gorthi creates a JEDI dream board to capture JEDI’s vision.

With political and social divisiveness taking center stage during 2020, a new club was started to tackle the diversity issues faced by the Chantilly community and to bring awareness to such issues. This new club, JEDI, stands for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity. 

“The summer was rough with police brutality and racism being very prevalent,” junior Natalie Svenly said. “I was tired of it and wanted change, so I joined JEDI.” 

JEDI does not encourage discussions limited to one topic, instead, it provides a platform for students of any race, gender, or political affiliation to speak out and find a safe community. 

“As an LGBTQ+ youth myself, I want to make sure that [the school] feels safe,” Svenly said. “Chantilly is at a good starting point, but there are so many issues regarding homophobia/transphobia in students.”

.The purpose of JEDI is to bring diversity and inclusion to the forefront of the conversation surrounding these topics. It encourages a strong partnership between faculty and students, and fosters an environment for students to share their feelings. Members participate in town halls led by students to spark a discussion on topics concerning diversity and social events

“I’m working in conjunction with JEDI and Student Equity Ambassador Leaders (SEALS) members,” junior Isis Holmes said. “Our goal in the long run is to implement inclusive curriculum and literature recommendations for grades K-12.”    

JEDI collaborates with other social justice-centered clubs, such as Amnesty International. Together, they have made JEDI programs, which also are a part of Advisory sessions.

“I helped with the stereotypes JEDI lesson,” Svenly said. “I used a document made in Chantilly’s Amnesty club to provide further help and understanding.”

Club meetings take place 

Students can email sponsor and assistant principal Amy Parmentier at AGParmentier@fcps.edu for information on how to become involved with JEDI. Students can make the advisory lessons, lead the town hall discussions, participate in the making the school curriculum more inclusive, and do Wellness/Walking Wednesdays, where students and faculty walk to honor members of the Chantilly community.   

“JEDI showed me that the adults are actually putting in the effort to actively listen to us as students,” Holmes said. “We are willing to put in the work to solve the problems that exist here at Chantilly.”