At the upper school gathering, Desmond mobilized a number of students, faculty and staff to put a lens on our collective community. The group congregated on stage to read excerpts of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (August 1963), King’s written response to a public warning claiming his work and ideas were “unwise and untimely”. The program also included music.
Field’s jazz band kicked off the celebration with a rendition of “TIBWF” by The Budos Band. Between readings, a faculty and staff choir chanted “Ukuthula,” a traditional South African peace hymn, and later sang attendees out of the Meeting House with the civil rights protest song “Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round.”
The gathering concluded with Aja and Nina speaking side-by-side (and sometimes in unison) as they delivered powerful, honest accounts of their personal experiences among a predominantly white landscape. They challenged peers and adults alike to “stand up and be who we say we are.” This call to action is the dream they hold for our community, connecting the creed of the civil rights movement to the present work to be done.
This sentiment is a constant thread in our diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Thank you to all who shared their hopes and vision with the community that Friday!