On Monday, January 16, Proctor Academy celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Instead of holding normal classes, the community joined for an all-school assembly, advisory group activities, and an afternoon of service. During the all-school assembly, writer and activist Dariana Guerero shared her lived experiences growing up in Lawrence, Massachusetts and her powerful poetry.
During his life, ministry, and activism, Dr. King spoke of the “Beloved Community” as an achievable society where conflict still exists, but is resolved peacefully, without hostility. It is one where we recognize the inherent worth and value of others and are motivated by kindness, compassion, and love for all life. The Beloved Community may be aspirational, but we see glimpses of it each day at Proctor.
Our work of community building is one of striving. While there is much good in our community, we must never adopt the mindset that we have arrived at some communal destination absent of hurt, discord, and strife. Instead, we must take intentional time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly of living and learning alongside each other. We must listen to the voices who speak hesitantly, the stories whispered from the margins, and take action to make our sliver of the world a better place for all who call it home.
The celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day each year affords us a full day of workshops, activities, and reflection on our collective work as a community. We began this year’s celebration Sunday evening with a school-wide showing of the documentary Coded Bias in which the film explored artificial intelligence, the powers that created the technology, racism, and the technology’s impact on human rights around the globe.
Following Dariana’s Guerrero’s keynote, advisory groups gathered to learn more about Dr. King’s legacy and vision for a beloved community before doing service activities around campus. Some advisories gathered trash and recycling from dormitories, cleaned minibuses, and different areas on campus to ease the load of housekeeping and maintenance departments, while others engaged in activism through learning about injustices around the world, and others dug deeper into equity and belonging work at Proctor.
Throughout our conversations, assemblies, and community service, we focused on how we can ensure our lives are action verbs in pursuit of Dr. King’s Beloved Community.