Students, faculty, and staff took part in the annual Community & Equity Day at St. Mark's on Thursday, February 1st. The events were co-sponsored by the School's Community & Equity program and the Gray Colloquium Committee, with very special support from Assistant Director of Admission Kwame Gayle and the School's Arts Department (Mr. James Wallace—Music; Mr. Chris Kent—Theater) who put together the evening's big event.
A catalyst for many of these important conversations was this month's Gray Colloquium presenter Mr. Clemmon King, with his film Passage at St. Augustine (see separate web article). But there were also workshops, open discussions, and exercises designed to inform about identity, beliefs, experiences, and choices.
In the evening, a special celebration of diversity in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 featured music, songs, dances, and presentations reflecting the diversity of the School community.
Through its Community & Equity and Global Citizenship programs, St. Mark's strives to reflect the increasingly diverse world in which its students live today and will live in the future. The School works to ensure respect for all regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, family structure, cultural background or economic situation, while at the same time recognizing and engaging the nuances of privilege and responsibility in a close-knit residential community.
The inevitable moments of misunderstanding and discomfort that may arise from all this are encouraged at St. Mark's as tools for learning within safe spaces of support for all. Community & Equity Day is an important part of the School's ongoing effort to encourage students to dig deeper and reflect, to engage students in conversations, to listen to student voices, and to build stronger bonds of a community that is enriched by its differences. On Thursday, St. Markers took a very positive approach to challenging experiences.
Loris Adams, Director of Community & Equity Affairs at St. Mark's (pictured at right), was pleased with the day. "Thursday was a beautiful reflection of the community that St. Mark's is and the beloved community that is to come as our students and faculty practiced seeing, hearing and understanding each other in moments of tension and celebration," she said.
Summing up her sentiments on the day, Ms. Adams quoted from a song performed by Grace Darko '18 at the Thursday night celebration: "Rise Up" by Audra Day—
"All we need is hope
And for that, we have each other"