(Video Courtesy: Stacy Park ’19)
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Loomis started a week-long celebration with an inspirational and moving convocation featuring psychologist, performer, and poet Dr. Michael “Mykee” Fowlin starting on Jan 16, 2017. Despite the early wake on a Saturday morning to attend this mandatory event, many\ initially sleepy students and faculty members found themselves in one of the most memorable LC convocations they had ever attended.
In his play, Dr. Mykee portrayed 4 different characters with each a unique story and personality; through them he presented issues regarding the discrimination against race, gender, disability, sexuality and many others that are prevalent in our society. Some students described this convocation as “mind changing,” and some remarked that it helps them understand contrasting views.
After the convocation, students and faculty divided into smaller advisory groups and discussed topics suggested by Dr. Mykee. Some groups had rigorous, productive conversations while others found respectful silence more effective in contemplating the same issues.
On Monday, we had a student performance convocation. Students with different points of view presented poetry, dance, song, and video-taped discussions to express their thoughts. Chelsea Offiaeli ’18 presented the difficulties of being a black women in her Identity Project video. She said that white men would look down on her, and that she couldn’t openly convey her anger in front of others because she don’t want to fall into the “angry black woman” stereotype that discounts the power of her emotions. Dance Companies I & II beautifully collaborated and put up a moving choreography to Maya angelou’s poems. Amaiya Parker ‘18 recited her powerful and moving poem, “Dear Racism,” urging those ignoring the importance of gender and race equality to open their eyes, ears, and minds, and start listening to the changing world. Lastly, the LC Chamber Singers ended the thought-provoking and heavy convocation with the uplifting and optimistic “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Following up, the PRISM open discussion on Tuesday was another chance to talk about the convocation. During the discussion, the topic focused on the “future MLK” and if there are figures like Martin Luther King Jr. in the modern society. Many people believe that there are many people like us who are genuinely concerned about racial discrimination who will support a leader like MLK who stands up for these discriminations. Jordan more specifically stated that, “we all have to be the MLK” because we should all use our passion to stand up for one another.
On Thursday evening, a hot-topics discussion open to the school kindled deeper exploration of the gray areas of social inequality; namely, of microaggression. Members of the LC community shared insights on different shades of privileges and disadvantages that we experience as individuals with different genders, cultures, and races. The discussion fired up as different students with opposing views debated on the frequency and influence of African-American presence in the media. Through this discussion the students not only learned more about the social justice issues Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to shine light upon but also important skills in maintaining a civilized and productive discussion.
The MLK celebration week concluded with a poetry slam on Friday evening. United by their faith in social justice, professional and student poets performed upon the same stage to finalize the MLK week celebrations. Just because MLK week has passed, the fight towards social justice is far from over — many demographics are waiting to be addressed, many amends are yet to be made, and many hopes are waiting to be realized. So, through conversation, action will be made leading to fair improvements to our local, national, and global communities in this new year.