Diversity at Newark Academy

Newark Academy welcomes and celebrates diversity and brings individuals together in an atmosphere where all are valued. We like to say that we have many voices but one purpose. Together, we learn and grow not just as students and faculty but as citizens of the world, acknowledging, embracing, discussing and respecting our differences.

Equity and Inclusion Team

The mission of Newark Academy’s Equity and Inclusion Team is to promote diversity, equity and justice throughout the school community. The team is comprised of student and faculty representatives in both Middle and Upper Schools who work to create new programs and expand existing ones in conjunction with the Academy’s strategic diversity initiatives.

Student Organizations

The NA faculty and student body engage in initiatives that invite action and dialogue to promote diversity, inclusion and deeper understanding of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and socioeconomic status. The Academy empowers students to take an active role in this work. Below are some of the clubs that have been working hard to move the conversation forward and to educate the community.

Diversity Groups on Campus

List of 5 items.

  • Asian Diversity

    The club works to advance Asian traditions and help the school understand and embrace Asian culture and traditions. Activities include learning languages, watching foreign films and sampling Asian cuisine.
  • Gay-Straight Alliance

    Weekly meetings are designed to be an open forum for the discussion of issues such as sexuality, homophobia, gender identity, heterosexism and gay rights.
  • Indian Club

    From fashion shows to Diwali celebrations, from dance competitions to food tasting, the Indian Club raises awareness of the importance of the Indian population at Newark Academy, in New Jersey and in the world.
  • Jewish Club

    The Jewish Club provides an opportunity to discuss issues and to promote cultural awareness and understanding. Club members are also involved in affiliated community service work.
  • Umojaa Club

    Umojaa means “unity” in Swahili. Members of the club seek to bring together students and faculty committed to learning about African-American culture and promote unity among students of all backgrounds.

PoCC/SDLC Reflections

List of 3 news stories.

  • Jeff Vinikoor

    Humanities Department Chair Jeff Vinikoor attended the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference: “For me, the highlight of the conference was hearing from our students, who attended the SLDC while I and the other NA adults were at the People of Color Conference. The students had spent several days reflecting on their own identities and the NA community. I was moved by their insights and willingness to share openly with the adults. I was reminded that we in the NA community need to ensure that every student feels welcome and valued — and sometimes our students of color do not feel that way. I will continue to think about how we enact a culture, policies, and practices that make our school community a place in which all students can reach their potential.”
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  • Kumar Ghafoor '10

    Alumni Board of Governors Member Kumar Ghafoor '10 attended the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference: “The student presentation on Saturday morning.  I wish everyone in the NA community could have been there for that. One to witness how brilliant our students are but also to see how courageous they are to share their real experiences of NA. The students gave their presentation to all adults who attended the trip from NA, including the Upper School principal, teachers, parents, Trustee and Board Members, and the diversity director. The students showed such strength in their willingness to be vulnerable with us and I am filled with hope and energy after being present for it.”
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  • Monica Zhang '21

    Monica Zhang '21 attended the National Association of Independent Schools Student Diversity Leadership ConferenceI learned how much I live in a bubble at NA, and I also learned how to listen. It was only through deep listening of others' struggles that I was able to open my eyes to the world around me and truly see how privileged I am within and without the NA community. Listening does not just mean hearing what someone is saying only to immediately reply and cut them off; to truly listen means to process someone's words and respond in a manner focusing on them and not yourself. I realized that when a friend tries to talk to me about an issue, I always try to relate it to a problem I experienced; however, I learned from SDLC that it is important to stop magnetizing your own problems, especially when your peers need you the most. I hope to share this skill of deep listening with my NA community.”

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Director of Equity and Inclusion

List of 1 members.

Diversity News

List of 3 news stories.

  • Newark Academy's Umoja Club Marks Beginning of Black History Month

    Feb. 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month and members of Newark Academy’s Umoja’s Club presented at Morning Meeting to commemorate this special month. They highlighted and honored the many African Americans who have had major impacts on American History. NA is a place where students learn and grow as citizens of the world and morning meeting presentations like these are just some of the meaningful ways the NA community comes together.
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  • Newark Academy’s Inaugural MLK Day of Service a Success

    While there were no classes in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, more than 100 attendees participated in Newark Academy’s inaugural MLK Day of Service on January 21. With sponsorship from the Community Service Council, Black and Latino Families Network, Alumni, Board of Governors, Office of Equity and Inclusion and NAPA Engagement and Inclusion Committee, as well as help from NA Student clubs, including the Asian Diversity Group, Do Something Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Hubun, Indian Club, Mi Casa, POWER and Umoja, the participants spent a day of frigid temperatures as a collective community warming others’ life.
     
    Director of Community Service Sarah Fischer and Director of Equity and Inclusion Gardy Guiteau welcomed the group before Masters of Ceremonies Alan Lin ’19 and Ava Sharahy ’19 gave remarks. Ruqaiyyah Lucas-Caldwell ’20 then introduced Keynote Speaker, Tanya Fields. Tanya is a food justice activist, educator, urban farmer, food blogger, and founder and executive director of the BLK ProjeK, a Bronx-based food justice and health organization serving underserved women of color by creating women-led economic development opportunities and is committed to urban farming and elimination of food deserts.
     
    Winter Storm Harper passing through and negative degree wind chill that weekend didn’t stop the NA community from coming together. Students, parents, faculty and alumni had the opportunity to learn about MLK’s vision for the Poor People’s Campaign and its relevance to the work of community organizer and urban farmer Tanya Fields.
     
    “As an African American woman living in the Bronx, Tanya was struck by the topics of food insecurity in her community and desired to make an effort to change that,” Kaya Patel ’22, publicity representative for her class, recalled. “Her urban farming revolution and transportation of healthy foods around the Bronx have changed the lives of many.”
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  • NA Participates in Successful People of Color Conference

    Thirteen adult members of the Newark Academy community attended the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC), while six students attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) November.
     
    The flagship of NAIS’ commitment to equity and justice in teaching and learning, this year’s PoCC theme was “Equitable Schools and Inclusive Communities: Harmony Discord & the Notes in Between.” Through workshops, networking events, seminars, speaker presentations and group work, the conference equipped NA leadership, staff and faculty members with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to enhance the school culture. 
     
    NA students who attended SDLC had ample opportunities to enhance their cross-cultural communications skills and gained a better understanding of the development of effective strategies for social justice. 
     
    We asked NA student Monica Zhang ’21, Humanities Department Chair Jeff Vinikoor and Alumni Board of Governors member Kumar Ghafoor ’10 a couple of the same questions before and after the trip to get different perspectives. Here’s what the three had to say:
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