New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Grads to talk on experience­s, equity, inclusion

- By Christine DeRosa christine.derosa@hearstmedi­

GUILFORD — Guilford High School alumni are set to share their experience­s and perspectiv­es on the importance of equity and inclusion initiative­s in schools Oct. 18.

They’ll also be discussing how those initiative­s help students in the complex world of post-graduation at the virtual event hosted by the Guilford Human Rights Commission. It is being organized by Guilford High School class of 2011 alum Kara Fikrig, and will feature 12 graduates taking turns sharing their experience­s — with a question-and-answer session afterward.

Fikrig organized the event because she feels the alumni perspectiv­e is an important one. She has been involved in advocating for changes to the district since last summer, when people were saying the mascot should be changed.

“I was part of a group of people last summer who helped put together an email campaign that helps show stories of predominan­tly alumni from Guilford High School as to why they thought that the mascot should be changed, and also encouragin­g the Board of Ed to do a curriculum audit, culturally responsive audit,” she said during a phone call with Hearst Connecticu­t Media.

Fikrig said she felt that the Board of Education really listened to the alumni, adding that many have been sharing personal stories about how their education on diversity, equity and inclusion failed them. Her desire to organize the event was driven by what she called the “extreme, far-right” candidates running for the board and winning the July Republican caucus.

The stories alumni shared were eye opening for board members in the past, Fikrig said. After speaking with people around town, she decided to pitch the forum idea to the Human Rights Commission.

“They agreed that it was a valuable event to host, and that it would be bringing a good perspectiv­e to this whole discussion, and one that’s been largely left out in the recent back and forth that’s happening in town,” Fikrig said.

It’s valuable to hear from graduates because now they can see gaps in their education after entering the labor market or pursuing higher education, she added.

To register for the Zoom webinar, which will begin at 7:30 p.m., visit the event at and click the link in the details section.

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