Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

What's Happening?

This year, students in Grades 6-12 will examine the significance of storytelling and its role in community building, art, and resistance. We will explore the power of personal narrative as a tool for transformation, empowerment, and social justice.   

Event made possible by a grant from PNC Bank.

Featured Speakers


Workshop - The Power of Hip Hop in Your Classroom with Asheru!
Hip Hop artist and educator Asheru will inspire you to be an agent of social and political change! This workshop will highlight how the media influences our social emotional health and well being. The implementation of hip-hop into curriculum promotes cultural relevance to youth of color, affirmation of urban identities, and deeper social emotional learning through connection with something relevant and real! You don’t want to miss this workshop!
Speaker Bio - Asheru, born Gabriel Benn, is an American hip hop artist, educator, and youth activist. He is widely known for performing the opening and closing themes for the popular TV series, The Boondocks, as well as his pioneering and innovative efforts to forward the Hip Hop Education movement. He is a Peabody Award winning Hip Hop artist, veteran educator, and founder of Guerilla Arts Ink, an arts education organization specializing in bringing high quality arts and cultural programming to low income communities.

Clayton Evans

Workshop - Sharing A Little Can Help A Lot
Through examples of storytelling through printmaking from an array of African American artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Elizabeth Catlett participants will make collagraph prints that will share some aspect of who they are.
Speaker Bio - Clayton B. Evans has dedicated most of his 25 professional years towards working with youth and families in the out-of-school-time field and is the recipient of a PASEsetter Award for exceptional youth work in New York City. Evans has taught art to students of virtually every age, from kindergarteners to retired adults. In addition to teaching the visual arts, Evans has extensive experience in not-for-profit and arts management. He was the founding director of the LeRoy Neiman Art Center in Harlem, NYC and Executive Director of Leave Out Violence-U.S. Evans received his Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art (Education minor) from Lafayette College, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA). Learn more about Clayton and his art and follow him on Instagram!

Tyler French

Workshop - LGBTQ+ Histories and Futures: Discussing, Writing, Sharing, Making
Only by coming to know, exploring, and reclaiming our histories can we craft a more just world. In this workshop participants will collaboratively create a timeline of moments in LGBTQ+ histories and futures, engage in a guided descriptive writing process, and generate short poems. We will learn from each other about important milestones in the LGBTQ+ rights movement and imagine the milestones we wish to see in future timelines. There will be moments for group discussion, individual writing and reflection, and an opportunity for participants the poems they create.
Speaker Bio - Tyler French (he/him/his) is a writer, organizer, and public humanist living in Washington, D.C. He is the Innovation and Partnerships Director of Story Tapestries, a non-profit arts organization. He has poetry in Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, Beech Street Review, Bending Genres Journal, and Stoked Words, an anthology of queer poetry. His first full-length book of poetry, He Told Me was published by Capturing Fire Press May 2019.

Jordan The Creator

Workshop - About Sustainability: Building, Living, & SELF Determination
In this workshop, we define "Sustainability" and discuss how and why it is important to build, live and work with sustainability in mind.
Speaker Bio - Jordan The Creator is a builder who aims to push the limits of how we inhabit our world. Using self-taught design & building techniques, his work often transforms spaces in unimaginable ways. His educational background includes Architecture, Design and Business, at Hampton University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship. For years, he was regularly involved in renovations & home improvements, after working his full-time jobs as an educator or government employee. Nowadays, he's using his tools to transform our world, full-time, as owner of Creativ Spaces. His design/build firm is heavily-focused on sustainability & reinvention and forces a whole new discussion about how we live and why. IG: @Jordan_TheCreator

Dr. Jeff Menzise

Workshop - The Science of Storytelling: Breaking Through and Birthing Your Book
Have you ever thought about writing a book? Publishing your art? Are you wondering how to take your work to the next level? No matter how young you are, you can amplify your art and you can do it now! In this workshop, you will be guided through the stages of brainstorming, design, networking, publishing, and distribution. You will hear first hand experience from a book publisher and also get inside tips on how to avoid the pitfalls of publishing contracts and how to advocate for your work and build your legacy!
Speaker Bio - Dr. Jeff Menzise, Psychologist, Producer, and Publisher, is a graduate of Fisk and Howard Universities, receiving advanced training and degrees in clinical psychology. He launched his first business at the age of 18, and has continued to perfect the craft and science of storytelling through music production, book design, and publishing. Striking a balance between your passion and profession is a critical part of sharing your gifts and talents with the world.

LaTonia Smith-Cokely

Workshop - Adjourn with Me: Exploring Tea Meditation, Our Inner Dialogue, and Love Notes
Explore the art of tea tasting, tea blending and tea meditation through a guided session led by LaTonia Smith-Cokely, Owner of Adjourn Teahouse, a DC based hand-blended, loose leaf tea company. In this session, you will sip several amazing tea signature tea blends, created by LaTonia, in addition to exploring tea meditation and your inner dialogue. You will also have the opportunity to create your very own tea blend and accompanying love letters in the form of affirmations, lyrics, poems, or intentions. #adjournwithme | www.adjournteahouse.com | @adjournteahouse
Speaker Bio - LaTonia Smith-Cokely As a self-proclaimed tea lover, I began crafting a vision for a small tea and wellness brand as a teen in Richmond, VA more than 15 years ago. Tea drinking was a major part of my upbringing. Growing up, we routinely enjoy warmed apple juice, sleepytime tea, and the occasional hot toddy. I am also from the south where sun tea and iced tea are huge on hot summer days. My parents, rest their souls, led me to pursue the idea of starting a tea and candle shop as a high schooler in a business planning competition. This experience, coupled with my passion for loving, healing, self, and collective care, led to a career in education and ultimately establishing Adjourn Tea House, an artisanal loose leaf tea company that offers beautifully unique, superior quality, hand blended teas that are sustainably sourced from around the world. At Adjourn, we believe in creating moments to recenter and balance our whole selves through rituals that allow us to adjourn - bring present tasks, worries, stresses to a close for a period of time. We hope to encourage everyone to adjourn more often by sharing tea blends that encourage us all to be more present. LaTonia is a former MCPS teacher and, currently, an entrepreneur and education consultant, facilitating workshops and professional learning for various organizations and schools in and around Washington, DC.

Aja Starkey

Workshop - Storytelling Through Dance
In this workshop, Students will learn to emotionally and physically tell a story through dance. They will learn to let the movement be the communicator for what the story is about. The students will also hear about the instructor’s story and her experience with storytelling through dance.
Speaker Bio - Aja Starkey, originally from Temple Hills, Maryland began her training at Suitland Performing Arts High School. Her love of dance grew and continued to grow through her training at AMDA. Graduated with her B.F.A. in Dance Theatre, Aja is thrilled to pursue her career in the dance industry.

Ray Wright

Workshop - Street Photography/Photo Therapy
Participants will explore the richness and creativity in this workshop. Discuss the history of photography, search & shoot process and the importance of documenting where we live. Understand the transformative power of using your camera as a powerful tool. Students are encouraged to bring a picture from home that holds a special meaning and are allowed to bring their phones, if they have one.
Speaker Bio - Ray Wright is a self-taught photographer and visual artist based in Washington, DC. She has been photographing for 28 years, and for the past 3 years she has taught “Street Photography” classes, Found Art, and Creative Journaling. Her "Street Walkin" series on Instagram was recently featured on the social media site www.acreativedc.com. She is an award-winning visual artist with a passion for her community and uses creating to bridge past and present, reality and imagination. Through the lens of her camera she is able to capture an ever- changing city that holds a special place in her heart. She is also a visual artist who integrates found objects and reclaimed wood from homes that have either been gutted to renovate or completely knocked down to create something shiny and new. These works are her way of holding onto and honoring our communities and the people that are/were in them.

Rebecca York

Workshop - Art/ Activism: Visual Change, Strategic Expression
Organizing spaces — especially those that are youth centered and youth driven — often talk about the need to use art as activism. Art has the power to build bridges across difference, heal trauma, and strengthen communities in the fight for equity and justice; art has the power to become the symbols of a revolution. However, in order to create this kind of symbolic movement art, some strategic planning is in order - especially for creators in the margins. In “Art/ Activism: Visual Change, Strategic Expression” participants will learn how to identify their goals (artistically and movement wide), find their audience, and pick the most impactful medium. This workshop is heavily discussion and activity based and will center the voices and experiences of young people. No prior artistic experience is necessary. (Note: this workshop focuses on developing your organizing strategy, with the assumption that once you have these tools, you can create your own art outside of this space.)
Speaker Bio - Rebecca York (she/they pronouns) is the Community Engagement and Youth Leadership Manager for SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), an organization that works to support and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth in D.C. Metro Area. Rebecca works with SMYAL’s youth leaders and community partners to raise awareness of issues affecting LGBTQ youth through workshops and community outreach. Rebecca is a recent graduate of Smith College, where she received a B.A. in the Study of Women and Gender, with an emphasis on LGBT and queer histories and activism.

Barrie Wins Best Private School

Washington Blade Magazine has awarded Barrie "Best Private School" in the publication's 2019 Best of Gay DC contest. The Washington Blade has been covering the LGBT community since 1969. In October, Blade will celebrate its 50th anniversary as an award-winning news source with a large following in print and online.

Diversity is one of Barrie's fundamental core values. We honor and celebrate the uniqueness of each individual and embrace each person’s beliefs, experiences, values, and perspectives in support of our inclusive and welcoming community. Barrie does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, or a person's status as a qualified candidate with a disability in administration of its educational program, admission policies, financial aid program, staff hiring and other school-administered programs.

Diversity @Barrie

Student Voices


Celebrating Diversity
Diversity is one of Barrie's fundamental core values. We honor and celebrate the uniqueness of each individual and embrace each person’s beliefs, experiences, values, and perspectives in support of our inclusive and welcoming community. Barrie does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, or a person's status as a qualified candidate with a disability in administration of its educational program, admission policies, financial aid program, staff hiring and other school-administered programs.

Welcome from Maati Wafford, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Welcome from the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Maati Wafford
Maati Wafford works collaboratively with faculty and administrators to enhance the many aspects of Barrie’s diversity work. She began as an active member on the Diversity Task Force, the group responsible for crafting Barrie's diversity statement. She provides service and expertise as the school works to include diversity in more formalized ways. 

Read More about Welcome from Maati Wafford, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


On January 30 and March 8, 2019, Barrie parents attended the Parent Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Alliance Collaboration Circle to review a video and discuss topics about diversity and inclusion while enjoying light refreshments.

All parents interested in fostering a diverse, inclusive community at Barrie are invited to join the Alliance.

Read More about Diversity Event - March 8

Barrie parent Dr. Jeff Menzise, reflected on his personal journeys to Africa, while leading a discussion about African heritage, international travel, and the culture and symbolism of Ghana, West Africa. Students and parents gathered as a community of learners to share, reflect and discuss these topics in a fun and informative way.

Read More about Equity in Education

Barrie parents came together on November 7th to kick off this year's Parent Diversity Alliance. This group was formed in order to create an intentional space for parents to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion perspectives into their daily lives.

Read More about Barrie Parent Diversity Alliance

Arts & Activism

"I'm not in the business of trying to demonize our Founding Fathers. I don't really think there's any benefit to that. But I'm also not trying to deify them. "

Titus Kaphar



As a consumer of news and a classroom teacher, how can I help my students make sense of the current news cycle? The term “toxic masculinity” can be useful vocabulary for these conversations.
Colleen Clemens

By Louise Derman-Sparks
Based on “Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism.” Updated in 2013.*