Offices & Resources

Community and Equity Day Celebrates Diversity, Identity
Community and Equity Day Celebrates Diversity, Identity

On Wednesday, February 24, St. Mark's held its annual Community and Equity (C&E) Day, this year through a completely virtual format. The entire student, faculty, and staff community took part in a full day of interactive workshops and presentations.

The day kicked off with a keynote speech by Michael B. Moore '80, a member of the St. Mark's Board of Trustees, chair of the St. Mark's Antiracism Trustee Committee, and the first diversity and inclusion officer at cloud software company Blackbaud. Moore discussed his experiences as a student at St. Mark's and the path that led him back to a leadership position at the School as an adult. Following Moore's speech, Director of Community and Equity Affairs John Daves presented on "Unpacking Whiteness After the Insurrection and the Inauguration."

A series of student-led workshops followed, including "White Feminism: Racism in the Women's Rights Movement," "Pronouns and Gender Identity," "All Blue/Black Lives Matter," "Does Social Media Help or Harm Social Movements?," "Tracing the Roots of Colorism," "Introducing Body Positivity and Defining Basic Feminist Terms," "A Privilege 'Walk'," "Asian American History: Who is American?," "How Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Intersect with Race in the United States?," "Who are 'We?' Where are 'We' Now?," "Navigating Blackness vs. Whiteness," "How Should Christians and the Church Take Action Against Injustice and Racism?," and "International Students' Identity."

"Our first session held more than 75 people, and we had a great time engaging in a group discussion with our peers and teachers, and heard a variety of opinions," said Vianey Morris '21, who led the "All Blue/Black Lives Matter" session with Bannon Jones '21. "We hope that the attendees left with an understanding on how countermovements can be harmful to other movements."

"Having the opportunity to help lead a session on body positivity was so incredibly rewarding," added VI Former Tate Frederick. "Hearing from so many different people with different perspectives further inspires me to drive forward the celebration of female identity on our campus."

After the Umoja Celebration of Identity rounded out the morning's activities, faculty members led afternoon workshops for the St. Mark's adult community on topics including social justice, racial identity, Episcopal identity and DEI work, Disney's Moana through the lens of global citizenship, the American Reconstruction and the American Civil Rights Movement, and social identity through the lens of literature.

Two films—A Most Beautiful Thing and I Am Not Your Negro—were available for students to view in the Center during the adult workshops.

"Despite all the challenges we've faced this year, I'm so proud of the team, especially the Pathways leaders, for making the C&E Day a positive, meaningful, and student-centered learning experience," said Associate Director of Community and Equity Affairs Starry Zhu. "Not only did they offer 13 interactive workshops with fascinating topics, but they also brought us so much joy and happiness by celebrating their identities in creative and artistic ways on Zoom. They just never fail to amaze me!"

To watch C&E Day presentations by Michael B. Moore '80 and Dr. John Daves, visit https://www.stmarksschool.org/campus-life/community-and-equity.