On the Tuesday after the country celebrated the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dana Hall School recognized his work with the third annual Day of Community Learning. This year’s theme, Bending the Arc: Examining Injustice and Seeking Solutions, focused on drawing connections between the life and legacy of King and solutions to the ongoing social justice issues that exist in this country and around the world. The day’s faculty organizers took the name from a well-known King quotation.
The traditional class schedule was replaced with speakers and workshops. This year, the Day of Community Learning expanded to include Middle School students and faculty. “Including the Middle School was crucial because the earlier we provide students with opportunities to become more conscious of their own identities and aware of their social responsibilities, the more likely they are to realize their ability to make an impact,” said Director of Community, Equity and Inclusion Erica Ramirez. “This day is a designated time for students to pause and recognize their own role in dismantling systemic injustice and have a critical mind about issues that are important to them.”
Fifty-five student and faculty presenters led 32 workshops, with a broad range of titles that included Examining the Struggle for Equal Rights Through Famous Works of Art, 21st Century Social Justice, Affirmative Action: What's all the Fuss About?, Empathy over Enmity: the Power of Understanding, R. Kelly and the Dehumanization of Black Women and How to be an Upstander.
The day began with a keynote presentation from educators from Pushed Learning and Media, who used performance, multimedia and personal stories to highlight issues related to inequality, oppression and identity. They also led one of the workshops, Pushing the Conversation Forward through Dance, where students had the opportunity to further explore these themes and engage in learning about Hip Hop/African dance and rap.
“What I love most about the way that the Day of Community Learning has evolved is watching the students take their role as educators so seriously,” said Director of Upper School Jessica Keimowitz. “Girls work hard to come up with relevant and compelling topics, to design workshops that are engaging and informative, and to listen carefully and openly to their peers. Giving the girls some agency in designing and executing a day like this is so important, and I hope that all of our students carry those lessons forward, to college classrooms and beyond."
"My favorite Dana Hall memory would be the first time I ever sang the Alma Mater with my fellow classmates. That was most definitely the first time I felt like I was truly a part of something. Joining hands with my future Silver Sisters made me truly feel like I was a Dana girl."