Widening the Lens 2020

The Far Brook School Diversity Conference

WELCOME! We are excited to announce that Far Brook’s fifth annual diversity conference for New Jersey independent schools will be held virtually on Saturday, November 7, 2020. The theme of this year’s conference — Lift Every Voice: Centering the Student Experience in Building Anti-Racist Communities — was an obvious choice in response to the horrific events of this spring, the disparities illuminated by COVID-19, and the outcry of our students. We must seize this moment to position anti-racism as a centerpiece of an independent school education.

Widening the Lens provides an opportunity to continue to listen, to learn more, and to share strategies for transformational change. In keeping with our theme this year, we will hear from 2-3 student speakers in addition to the keynote speaker. We look forward to a virtual day of collaboration and action-planning toward building the anti-racist learning communities we aspire to be.

Conference Structure

The unique structure of this conference follows the format of the Dalton School Diversity Conference (NYC), designed by Pollyanna Inc., a nonprofit devoted to increasing racial understanding. Attending schools are invited to assemble a “pod” of individuals, each of whom can play a role in advancing the diversity discussion at their school. Each pod consists of the Head of School, and two participants from each of seven constituencies: Students, Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Diversity Coordinators, Alumni, and members of the Board of Trustees.

The day begins with a keynote speaker followed by facilitated conversations within groups of constituents – all of the faculty, parents, alumni, etc. – in breakout rooms where they share experiences, ideas, and recommendations from the perspective of the role that they play at their school. In the afternoon, students in our communities share their thoughts and feelings inspired by the work they have done together in their morning breakout session. The day concludes with each school reassembling in their pod to share what they have learned and begin action planning. Powerful learning and growth happen when we bring together this cross-section of voices and perspectives that exist within our own schools and share our challenges, experiences, and best practices with colleagues from peer schools.

Keynote Speaker

We are thrilled to announce this year’s keynote speaker is Zerlina Maxwell – American cable television host, political analyst, commentator, speaker, and writer!

Host of her own streaming show Zerlina. – launched at the beginning of October on Peacock TV – she is also Senior Director of Progressive Programming for SiriusXM and co-host of the award winning radio show Signal Boost on SiriusXM.

Zerlina grew up in Millburn/Short Hills and earned a law degree from Rutgers Law School–Newark and a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University.

Guest Facilitator

Dr. Rodney Glasgow is our special guest facilitator for the Head of School constituent group. Dr. Glasgow is a noted speaker, facilitator, trainer and activist in the areas of diversity, equity, and social justice. A graduate of Harvard University with a joint degree in Afro-American Studies and Psychology, and holding a Master of Arts in Organization and Leadership from Columbia University, and a Doctorate of Education degree from The George Washington University. He is currently Head of School at Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland.

Student Speakers

Following the keynote, two students — Amina Swarns, 7th Grade Kent Place, and Josselyn Wolf, 7th Grade Far Hills Country Day — will present their “Call to Action” speeches. Students were asked to reflect on the conference theme and issue a challenge to conference attendees that will inspire the work of the day.

2020 Conference Leader

Mikki Murphy
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community

2020 Conference Schedule

Past WTL Conferences


Class in the Classroom: Exploring Socioeconomic Diversity in Our Schools

Keynote: Anthony Jack


From Attending to Belonging: Reimagining Independent School for our Intersectional Communities 

Keynote: Richard Blanco


LGBTQ+: Illuminating the Spectrum and Cultivating Pride

Keynote: Charles Blow


Race: Creating a Generation of Inclusive Thinkers and Community Leaders

Keynote: Howard Stevenson