Common Ground: Affinity Groups at Mirman
Invisibility erases identity and experience. Visibility affirms reality.
— Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards
Adapted from Derman-Sparks and Edwards’ anti-bias education framework, in 2018-2019 Mirman launched affinity groups to affirm identity and experience for all of the constituents that make up our community — students, families, and faculty and staff. Affinity groups, regardless of age, are brave spaces to continue the ever-growing, ever-evolving work on our individual and collective identities. Affinity groups at Mirman never function in isolation, and in fact, intentionally gather together to engage in cross-racial, cross-cultural, and intersectional dialogues. These are spaces of connectivity, laughter, discomfort, discoveries, vulnerability, resilience, and most importantly, of immersion/emersion — we go in fully and come out more whole.
Common Ground is currently offered to all Upper School students on a voluntary basis, and is facilitated by trained faculty and administration. Students choose the affinity group(s) that speak to their identities with a focus on self-discovery, self-nurturing, and self-affirmation.
The current Common Ground offerings in the Upper School include:
- Kaleidoscope is an affinity space for students to connect over experiences and conversations about unique family structures. We celebrate all the beautiful and complex aspects that each of our families represent in our lives.
- Alphabet Soup is a confidential, inclusive, and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ students and allies. We are an alliance, meaning that students can simply “come as they are” in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Alphabet Soup is a place where we appreciate differences, practice self-love and celebration, ask questions, find acceptance, and work to make our campus a safer place for LGBTQ+ students and their allies.
- Students of Color Collective (SOCC) is an umbrella affinity space that brings all students of color and multiracial students together. SOCC makes visible the racial and ethnic diversity on Mirman’s campus by affirming individual and collective identities, including the following affinity groups:
- Black at Mirman (BAM) is an affinity group that aims to create a brave space for students who identify as black or African American. We aim to educate the Mirman community about our lived experiences, while also continuing to learn about our individual and collective identities. BAM empowers black and African American students to take pride and become active leaders in sharing our truths.
- Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and multiracial affinity groups will also be offered as micro-affinity groups under SOCC. The mission and facilitators for these groups are still in process.
- Shades of White is an affinity space for recognizing, discussing, and understanding what being white means for yourself and others through an activist lens.
- Jew Wanna Talk? is an affinity space to share experiences, concerns, and further develop our identity as Jewish people. This group is open to people who identify as culturally, ethnically, and/or religiously Jewish.
- People of Faith is an affinity space to share experiences as a person of faith at Mirman School.