You have probably heard about the new Diversity Alliance documentary Our Truth. It focuses on the Diversity Alliance’s (DA) successes and setbacks throughout the last school year, with filming and production having started in December 2020. The documentary premiered on Friday, May 28, with over thirty-five people in attendance. It currently has over 500 views. The film is now available on the Our Truth YouTube channel.
The group hopes to shed light on what the DA does beyond the social media presence. Personal experiences of oppression, discrimination, and communal culture make up a core part of the film, as these are the experiences that most motivate the Diversity Alliance mission.
“We can’t pretend that [acts of discrimination, hatred, or oppresision] not happening, because it is,” Fifth Former Diversity Alliance Co-Chair Quinn Luong said.
Sixth Former Diversity Alliance Vice-Chair Nachikethan Srinivasan said, “We want the student body and the wider Haverford community as a whole to understand what role we [the Diversity Alliance] serve in the realm of the upper school and what our goal is: to help make Haverford a just and equitable student environment for everyone by means of education, of dialogue, and of outreach.”
While the documentary’s premiere and release went smoothly, there were many emotional burdens on the cast throughout the production period.
When asked about the hardships while making the documentary, Srinivasan said, “It felt taxing to rely on each other’s support on whether the personal encounters we had gone through were acceptable to include in the final edits. While I was confident, others were somewhat conflicted about what they felt comfortable sharing.”
The difficulty in sharing such personal experiences with the school was echoed throughout the documentary, especially in incidents that involve other students.
The hurdles were not strictly emotional, however.
“It was much more difficult than we had initially expected to make this documentary,” director Russell Yoh ’24 said. “We didn’t realize how much time and effort it would be. I spent a lot of really late nights on calls with other members of the Executive Team trying to get it done in time.”
Fourth Form Diversity Alliance Vice-Chair Roch Parayre said, “The entire film was difficult because of the time commitment.”
The DA Executive Team expressed the immense difficulty of the production, yet they are all happy with the end result.
“It was often very stressful and tiring,” Yoh said, “but we’re all really proud of how it came together in the end.”
The upper school community has had a largely positive reaction to the documentary, expressing interest in learning more about the DA.
Third Former Tripp Ronon looked forward to the film.
“I had initially seen the announcement on social media, and I thought it was a unique way to show what they’ve done,” Ronon said. “The DA has impacted my daily school life with speakers and events, but I was interested to see what else they did.”
Our Truth explores the often unmentioned aspects of the school community and follows one of the most prominent student groups throughout a challenging school year. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work is currently very popular worldwide, and the Our Truth documentary brings it to Haverford for students to see, as Russell Yoh puts it, “our passion and dedication to this work.”