February 2021 Update from Pollyanna

March 2021

The work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice is often measured by the goals we set and the milestones we accomplish. How can we challenge ourselves to learn about race and our racial history? How can we model inclusivity and acceptance in our family? How can we challenge ourselves to favor actions over words as we seek a just and equitable society?
Viewing progress through the prism of achievement is, of course, appropriate and laudable. However, as we turn the corner and finish the first quarter of 2021, we wanted to highlight an article that suggests another important indicator of progress: The mistakes we make.
In a recent article for Inc. Magazine, Minda Zetlin offered an alternate take on Serena William’s tearful exit from a press conference after a loss in the finals of the Australian Open. A loss that denied her from setting the all-time record for Grand Slam singles titles in tennis. She remains stuck at an eye-popping 22 titles. 
As Williams was peppered with questions about why she lost the match, even when she had previously been playing so well, Zetlin took particular note of Williams’s explanation: “It was a big error day for me today.” As Zetlin explains:
“If you're a leader or an entrepreneur, consider the power and emotional intelligence in that sentence. She didn't blame the judges, or the court surface, or her injuries for her failure. She didn't try to make excuses or suggest that she could have avoided this dispiriting result if only things had been slightly different. She owned the failure completely, but she didn't give it the power to dominate or doom her. It was a big error day today. Tomorrow might be a very different day.” 
Perhaps this example also lends wisdom to those of us engaged in the work of building stronger communities through diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. If we are being honest, we know this is messy, complicated work. We also know we are just as likely to make mistakes as we are to make progress on our goals. We are no strangers to “big error days.”
But how do we frame these errors and mistakes in our work? Do we give them the power to define tomorrow’s goals and efforts? Or, like Williams, do we view them for what they are: Moments to own, moments to learn, moments to rechart the way forward.
More importantly, how do we frame the errors and mistakes of others in our families and in our work? Do we help make it safe for others to own mistakes and missteps? Do we help them find the learning? Do we find ways to help them navigate through the struggle? In this particularly charged time in our culture, we seem to be haunted by a pervasive fear of mistakes: Will I be called a racist? Will I be canceled? Will I be able to repair the harm?

As we enter Women's History Month, it is important to note that Serena Williams is, without hyperbole, likely the greatest athlete to ever play any sport at any level at any time in the history of humankind. She is entitled to some “big error days.” While many of you might dream of being “the Serena Williams of DEI work,” we also hope you will embrace the “big error days” this spring for yourself and others as opportunities for connection, learning, and progress towards greater goals.
All best,
Casper Caldarola

In the News

NAIS Signature Experience
Pollyanna facilitators, Jessy Molina and Jay Golon, led a critical discussion at the NAIS Annual Conference examining how schools can move beyond traditional ideas of “civil discourse” to create dialogue spaces for students that are constructive, inclusive, and honors their individual identities.
Pollyanna Intern
Josie's video on our Instagram shares what she likes about our curriculum and why schools should check it out. Josie is also our Teen Pollyanna Los Angeles intern! 
Schools, Organizations & Corporate Partners
We enjoyed working with you in February! The projects included: faculty professional development, parent workshops, student classes, DEI assessments, leadership workshops, conferences, and speaking engagements.    
Allelo Partnership
Allelo.io was built by Carnegie Mellon University students, with the core mission to promote and improve open-minded listening and civil discourse skills online. Using AI and smart technology, provides a trusted way to measure user perspectives and insights that can open opportunities for both individual and organizational growth. Pollyanna will begin using Allelo in our work.


Heads of Schools: The Next Position Paper is to Support You and Your Colleagues
As the 2020-2021 school year passes its halfway mark, many schools have had to reckon with resistance and pushback against their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.  The goal for our 5th Pollyanna Position Paper is to allow School Heads to name strategies for navigating challenges while trying to lead their school communities towards greater racial justice and equity.
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6 April 2021 - Decentering Beauty & Success from Whiteness: A Workshop with Justine Ang Fonte
Beauty and success have often been defined through white supremacist terms, lands, and systems. This fact has made it disproportionately challenging or fully impossible for people of color to keep up under those constraints. The Halo Effect has never worked in favor of many BIPOC. Cognitive bias suggests that what is beautiful is good and is also referred to as the physical attractiveness stereotype. Beauty isn’t about taste but geopolitics, and there is a history of defining beauty and, therefore, attractiveness, familiarity, and trustworthiness that's centered on whiteness. And white supremacy solidified this by recruiting others to join them by calling Asians like Justine, the model minority. In this workshop, we will examine this type of oppression through a social-emotional lens. Attendees will be able to reflect on their own body image and the society that influences it.
Click here for more information and to register. Please share!
Showing Up and Standing Up: A 5-Part Journey Towards Antiracism for White Families
with Pollyanna Facilitators Jay Golon and Jessy Molina
20 January 2021, 7PM ET, “I don’t really see race...” - Examining White Identity - completed
17 February 2021, 7PM ET, “I’m the least racist person…” - Unpacking White Privilege and Powe completed
10 March 2021, 7PM ET, “I don’t want to say the wrong thing…” -  Navigating Conversations about Race
14 April 2021, 7PM ET, “I feel like I don’t know how to help...” - What Does it Mean to be an Ally, Accomplice and Co-Conspirator?
12 May 2021, 7PM ET, “I just want to do the right thing...“ - Committing to an Antiracist Life
Click here for more information and to register for the series. 
Upcoming Virtual School Conferences
March 6, 2021: The Town School for Boys in California will host its second Pollyanna Conference. 
April 10, 2021: Westover School in Connecticut will host its first Pollyanna Conference.
April 24, 2021: Francis Parker School in California will host its second Pollyanna Conference.
May 1, 2021: The Wheeler School in Rhode Island will host its second Pollyanna Conference.
May 8, 2021: The Dalton School in New York will host its eleventh Pollyanna Conference.
May 15, 2021: Ravenscroft School in North Carolina will host its first Pollyanna Conference
Pollyanna advances systemic change by developing stronger communities.
Pollyanna works with academic and other institutions to achieve their diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Through its unique conference models, discussion platforms, and racial literacy curricula, Pollyanna increases cultural competence.
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