Forty-two RCDS students in Grades 8 – 12 gathered with over 170 students, teachers, and administrators from local independent schools to participate in the annual Saturday Summit on Social Justice, a student-led event coordinated by RCDS Director of Diversity and Inclusion Ali Morgan and Masters School Director of Equity and Inclusion Karen Brown. This year’s program was held virtually and marked four years for the inter-school project, which examines the important roles that diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice play both inside and outside of school communities.
The half-day event featured 20 student-facilitated workshops on topics including code-switching, toxic masculinity, activism, and navigating being a person of color (POC) at a predominantly white institution (PWI), among others. 18 of the 20 workshops were designed and led by RCDS Upper Schoolers. The Summit also included two affinity group sessions where students and adults discussed shared identities and ways to build and sustain effective support systems at schools.
The keynote was delivered by poet and Nuyorican Poet Cafe Spoken Word Champion Tshaka Menelik Imhotep Campbell. Mr. Campbell read his powerful poetry, which spoke to his personal journey and current events. He shared his belief in the potential of young people to make the world a better place and encouraged the students to keep up their active commitment to social justice.
The students who participated in the Summit showed leadership and active citizenship, and their engagement in this meaningful program strengthened the local independent school community. This year, Mr. Morgan was thrilled to have the additional partnership and support of Joshua Rivera ’15, RCDS’s new DEI Teaching Fellow. Reflecting on the Summit, Mr. Morgan shared, “I don't know what makes me more proud: the fact that our young people once again rose to the occasion and led us beautifully and thoughtfully or that one of my former students/mentees, Mr. Rivera, returned to RCDS to help lead the charge! Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, our students remain committed to the cause of social justice.” Mr. Rivera added, “I am consistently inspired by the work that our students produce in advancing conversations around social justice. The Saturday Summit on Social Justice is just one of many ways I have seen our students advocate for social justice throughout the community, and I am thankful to play a role in making sure their voices are not only heard, but supported.”