DEIJB at YIS: Why It Matters

DEIJB at YIS: Why It Matters

by Gender Equity Movement & LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Team Members

Our Commitment to DEIJB:

At YIS, our school values are deeply rooted in the principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging (DEIJB). Our DEIJB commitment is to ensure that every member of our community is respected, valued, and feels a sense of belonging. This includes actively amplifying and embracing gender equity and the diverse voices and experiences of Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) individuals, people with disabilities, neurodiverse individuals, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and those from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. By embedding these principles into every aspect of our community life, we create a rich tapestry of perspectives that promotes learning and fosters mutual respect.

This statement was created by students of the high school Gender Equity Movement and LGBTQIA Advocacy Team. It started during one of the LGBTQIA+ Team meetings, where a question was sparked: 

"How many clicks does it take to find our community's commitment to diversity and inclusion on our website?". 

Upon further inspection, students found no specific mention of diversity and inclusion, highlighting the need for a clear and prominent statement about our commitment to diversity and inclusion. This kick started a discussion that led to the formation of our DEIJB commitment statement and a collaboration with the Gender Equity Movement to refine the final draft. During this time Vendela, a Grade 12 HL Art student, began collecting ideas for a logo to accompany the statement.


 DEIJB logo designed by Grade 12 student Vendela 

We want to be the type of school that enables everybody to be who they are with support, respect and inclusion from others. This is important for people who are still figuring out who they are, especially considering that our student population is made up of children and teenagers who are still growing up. Overall, we are confident this statement and its implementation help us all become better versions of ourselves.

The statement communicates clearly who we are as a school, and what we believe about inclusivity and diversity. For students and adults in YIS, this statement informs our actions, behaviors and decisions, as well as reinforces the values that already exist within our community. For those outside the community, such as visitors and prospective students and staff, the statement provides a clear understanding of the type of community they are joining.

All members of our community benefit from this, as it establishes our values on the importance of inclusivity and equity creating a safe space for all members in our community to be comfortable and express themselves and their identities. We hope it will also encourage students, staff and others to learn about different cultures, identities and people outside of their own.


GEM & LGBTQIA+ team members marching at the 2024 Tokyo Pride March

The statement is now on our website for current and future community members to see, and we intend to put it on job descriptions as well, for those considering working at YIS. We will also begin emphasizing this statement to student leaders and encouraging them to keep this central to all that they do, such as when organizing events that could have an impact on other students. We are currently working to ensure that the values of our DEIJB statement are fostered and reflected in all aspects of the school, from its governing members to its students.

Although we have made positive steps forward with this statement we still have a lot of work and growth ahead of us. Officially launching this statement is the starting point, but we must live and breathe it in our everyday actions and decisions for it to truly empower members of our community. Overall, the aim is for every person to come to school at YIS and feel safe, included and that they belong.

Below are some quotes from our YIS Community on their thoughts about our commitment to DEIJB:

“It’s nice that there’s a little spot for everyone.” - Grade 10 student

“True success and fulfillment come from embracing our individuality and creating environments where EVERYONE feels empowered to be themselves without fear of judgment.” - Board of Directors/Parent

“We’re committed to fostering a school environment that values all members so we can thrive and achieve our full potential. At YIS we must actively champion DEIJB; otherwise, we risk passively endorsing intolerance, inequity, and exclusion which would be the very antithesis of being a Dragon.” - Secondary School Counselor

“It is so important to have this statement on our website so that our current and future YIS family know how important it is that everyone in our community feels recognized, valued and loved. That, whoever you are, YIS is a safe, inclusive and happy place to “live, learn and lead”.” - Board of Trustees/Parent