Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee of the PTO was created to celebrate the diverse backgrounds of the school’s students and families. Whether through events, assemblies, videos, or coffee talks, O’Hara students and families will have the opportunity to learn about and celebrate diversity in our school and community. There will be a focus on a different DEI theme each month, as follows:

  • September-LatinX Heritage Month
  • October-Diverse Families Month
  • November-Indigenous People History Month
  • December-World Religions Month
  • January-Differing Abilities Month
  • February-Black History Month
  • March-Gender Equality Month
  • April-Learning Styles Month
  • May- Asian/Pacific Islander History Month

If your culture, identity or passion aligns with any of these topics and you are interested in helping, please contact Becca Tobe

Take a look at how we are celebrating!

Diverse Families Month:

O’Hara Elementary, the greater Fox Chapel Area community and our world is made up of so many diverse families. It’s part of what makes our school and our community so special. Shine a positive light on Diverse Families Month by talking to your children about how families can be different from each other and celebrate how that makes each family special and unique. Below are some resources that can be helpful: 

Book Titles related to Diverse Families

Lily and Duncan

Caterpillar Summer

Papa, Daddy and Riley

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding

Beetle and Hollowbones

Better Nate Than Ever

I Love my Colorful Nails

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World

LGBTQIA – Breaking Gender Stereotypes when Aidan becomes a Brother

One True Way

Pride: the Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag

The Moon Within

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

Article on How to Talk to Children about Diverse Families

Article

Movies related to Diverse Families

1. Moana

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+

The animated film Moana is about the action-filled voyage of Moana, the daughter of a Polynesian chief, as she sails across the ocean. Moana learns powerful lessons along the way as she discovers her own identity. This movie showcases a strong female lead from the Pacific Islands, a diverse setting that isn’t represented in many films.

2. Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Sling TV, and YouTube

Since this Dora is a teen rather than a very young girl, the movie is geared toward older viewers than the show. The story is a mix of high school comedy and true Dora adventure with themes of teamwork, communication, compassion, courage, curiosity, and perseverance.

3. Wonder

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Google Play

Auggie, the main character in Wonder (which is based on a book), was born with facial differences and is entering a mainstream school for the first time. This movie features themes of compassion and acceptance and teaches us that the differences we all have simply add to the richness of our lives, not take away from it. However, it’s not just Auggie who struggles in this movie, teaching kids that it’s important to show compassion to everyone, not only those with visible vulnerabilities. 

If you’re looking for a movie to teach your kids about empathy, look no further than the movie adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s award-winning novel “Wonder,” starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay in the starring role as Auggie, a fifth-grader with a genetic facial difference. Suitable for age 10+.

4. Coco

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+

This animated film features an all-Latino cast and shares the story of Miguel, a 12-year-old Mexican boy who is an aspiring musician. Miguel goes into the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather and the movie highlights many details of daily life in Mexico.

5. Spelling the Dream

Rated: TV-G

Where to Watch: Netflix

Spelling the Dream is a documentary that spotlights four kids at the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee, the country’s most prestigious spelling competition. The filmmakers follow the four hopefuls leading up to the event, taking a look at their preparation, commitment, and family involvement.

6. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Google Play

This animated Marvel adventure centers on Brooklyn teen Miles Morales who becomes a new Spider-Man and ends up meeting other Spider-people from parallel universes. Kids won’t fail to notice the movie’s diverse characters and clear messages about friendship, courage, mentoring, perseverance, teamwork, and (of course!) the nature of power and responsibility.

7. Hidden Figures

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and Hulu

Hidden Figures is based on the incredible true story of three female mathematicians who dealt with many challenges around race and gender as they became an important part of NASA and the U.S. space program.

Whether your kids love space or not, the true story of three brilliant African American women who worked at NASA during the early 1960s will inspire them. At this time, both women and people of color were widely and openly discriminated against, particularly in segregationist Virginia. Suitable for age 10+.

8. Home

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, and iTunes

This movie creates a world in which aliens known as The Boov, running from their enemies, must find a new planet to inhabit, so they take over Earth. Human families get broken up in the forced relocations that follow, and Tip (voiced by Rihanna) is separated from her mother. She teams up with Oh, the most human-friendly of The Boov, and an adventure ensues.

10. Mulan

Rated: G

Where to Watch: Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, and Google Play

Mulan is a decidedly Disneyfied take on a Chinese fairy tale, but its elements of Chinese culture and history ring true. This movie focuses on a strong, female lead (like Moana and Merida) who doesn’t align with the typical Disney princess. While Mulan ultimately becomes a hero and helps her people, she does so by rebelling against authority, which is worth discussing.

11. A Ballerina’s Tale

Rated: N/A

Where to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV

A Ballerina’s Tale shows the struggles and successes of Misty Copeland, the first Black principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre. The film explores themes around race as well as body image.

12. Lilo & Stitch

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play

Stitch, a small but powerful intergalactic creature, is destructive and angry; he bares his sharp teeth and angry attitude frequently throughout, causing chaos and mayhem wherever he goes. Lilo and her sister Nani are orphans, and though the circumstance of their parents’ death is referenced only once, there are themes of possible separation, social worker visits, and the weight of being a single guardian.

13. Remember the Titans

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+

Taking place in Virginia in 1971, Remember the Titans is based on the true story of a newly integrated high school football team and the struggles around racial tensions, both on and off the field.

14. The Princess and the Frog

Rated: G

Where to Watch: Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon Prime Video

This animated film features Disney’s first Black princess, Tiana. The movie doesn’t explicitly discuss race, and that’s a good way to show young children representation and diversity in movies.

15. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: Netflix

This is another film based on a true story. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is about 13-year-old William Kamkwamba and how he discovers a way to save his Malawian village from famine. The movie explores themes around poverty and political unrest.

16. Big Hero 6

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Disney+

The movie is an unconventional origin story that focuses on the power of brotherhood, friendship, and using your gifts to help others. The movie does deal with grief and a bit of violence, but with its diverse cast and uplifting message, Big Hero 6 is a captivating adventure story for the entire family.

18. Ruby Bridges

Rated: PG

Where to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+

You may have been hearing about Ruby Bridges recently. Ruby was the first African American child to attend an all-white school in the south. While this seems like it should have taken place so long ago, it actually wasn’t that long ago, only taking place in 1960. Ruby Bridges, now age 65, is an American civil rights activist. Ruby Bridges shares Ruby’s real-life experience and showcases the struggles and racist environment she had to fight through as a 6-year-old.

Finding Nemo (2003)

A Disney/Pixar classic, “Finding Nemo” has a charming protagonist with a physical disability — a stunted fin that affects his mobility. However, this is largely overshadowed by the mental health issues of various other characters, such as Marlin’s PTSD/anxiety disorder, Dory’s memory loss, the shark’s addiction and the aquarium grandma’s OCD.

Therein lies the ultimate, crucial message of “Finding Nemo” — that being different is normal. Suitable for all ages.

Monsters University (2013)

Another animated movie that goes much deeper than the college adventures of colorful monsters is Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University.” Fun and frolics aside, this is a film about the inherent differences between people and how individuals, places and situations can help cultivate connections and understanding between those people.

Of particular note is the scene in which Mike and Sulley go to spy on Monsters Inc. and realize that “great scarers” come in all shapes, sizes, colors and attributes. Suitable for all ages.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

“My Neighbor Totoro” is a beautifully animated fantasy movie that appeals to kids and adults alike. In 1958 Japan, sisters Satsuki and Mei move into a house in the country with their professor father while their mother is in the hospital. They quickly discover the nest of a giant forest spirit, King Toronto, at the foot of a huge camphor tree.

Totoro looks after the sisters when they wait for their father and takes them to visit their mother when they worry about her. The bright, brave, compassionate and curious sisters break the mold of cartoon kids and are the perfect examples kids need to learn cultural awareness and diversity. Suitable for age 5+.  

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

“Akeelah and the Bee” stars Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne and Keke Palmer, who plays protagonist Akeelah Anderson, an African American girl from Los Angeles who competes in the National Spelling Bee.

After decades of seeing smart white boys in movies, it’s wonderfully refreshing to see a smart black girl take their place. Overall, this is a great movie with an important message: Never be afraid of your own ability, even if it makes you different. Suitable for age 8+.

I Am Eleven (2014)

This compelling, moving film follows 11-year-olds from around the world (Australia, Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, India, Morocco, Japan, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States). The youngsters share their beliefs, challenges, passions and triumphs, showing that issues like bullying and discrimination are experienced by everyone, regardless of where you come from and what you look like.

“I Am Eleven” will encourage kids to identify connections between their own experiences and those of the kids in the movie, as well as pinpoint their differences. Suitable for age 10+.

Dino Dana: The Movie

Age: 5+

Type of representation: Gender, blended diverse family

What Common Sense says: “Dana is an exemplary role model who defies gender stereotypes, and the story focuses on diverse blended families.”

Where to watch it: Amazon

Ferdinand

Age: 6+

Type of representation: Gender 

What Common Sense says: “Ferdinand is happiest pursuing traditionally feminine pursuits (gardening, dancing, spending time with family), but he’s also proudly strong and powerful.”

Where to watch it: Rent on major streaming platforms

Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs

Age: 7+

Type of representation: Gender, body positivity

What Common Sense says: “Promotes body image and self-acceptance while confronting stereotypes and sending the message that true love sees beyond appearances.”

Where to watch it: Rent on major streaming platforms

Zootopia

Age: 8+

Type of representation: Animal diversity

What Common Sense says: “Using animals to stand in for different types of people, the film promotes tolerance, empathy, and multiculturalism ― and everyone’s value when it comes to making a difference in society.” The message of the movie is intended to be that discrimination is wrong

Where to watch it: Rent on major streaming platforms

The Personal History of David Copperfield

Age: 10+

Type of representation: BIPOC

What Common Sense says: “The director’s ‘color blind’ approach to casting means that this take on Dickens’ classic story is far more diverse than those that have come before.”

Where to watch it: Rent on major streaming platforms

Sources

https://www.familyminded.com/s/family-movies-that-celebrate-diversity-446eb171be8f4216

https://theeverymom.com/movies-that-celebrate-diversity-to-watch-as-a-family/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kids-movies-celebrate-diversity_l_600aea39c5b6fe97669bd4f7/amp

LatinX Month:

School librarian, Mrs. Fornari, made a festive display in the library of LatinX themed books. She also purchased several more titles to add to the collection. 

A list of local Pittsburgh LatinX restaurants & shops and fun facts about Latin American countries were compiled and can be found on O’Hara’s PTO website. Some of the fun facts were also chosen to be read on the morning announcements each day! 

O’Hara parent, Beatriz Conte, led a cooking class on Zoom, where she showed how to prepare Mexican nachos and a Chilean tres leches dessert. The call was recorded here (passcode: !x06!9=%) so that all can join at their leisure!