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Discussions and Performances Honor MLK Legacy

Continuing a tradition begun in the 1970s, Loomis Chaffee honored the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a week-long series of campus events January 19–25.

MLK Week 2019 kicked off on a Saturday, January 19, with "Sugar Highs, Racial Lows," an all-school convocation address by Wesleyan University professor Anthony Ryan Hatch, author of Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America.

The discussion of topics related to social justice and food insecurity continued after the convocation with students in advisory groups attending workshops led by Mr. Hatch and several Loomis faculty members. The workshops included: "King Beyond Non-Violent Protest," led by history teachers Elliott Dial and Harrison Shure; "Deadly Delights: The Science of Sugar," led by science teachers Neil Chaudhary '05 and Erica Gerace; "Are You SPENT? Income, Poverty, and You," led by economics teachers Mat DeNunzio and Liz Leyden; "Freedom 2019," a discussion of Coretta Scott King's visit to Loomis Chaffee in 1974, led by history teachers Reem Aweida-Parsons and Karen Parsons; and "Feeding the Hungry: Practical Challenges," a service learning activity, led by faculty members Lilian Castillo de Hutchinson, Eric LaForest, and Fred Seebeck.

On Monday, January 21, students performed music, dance, spoken word poetry, and a dramatic monologue for a community assembly in honor of Dr. King. The student leaders of PRISM (People Rising In Support of Multiculturalism) emceed the event.

A student-led panel discussion of "Race as A Social Construct" took place on the evening of Tuesday, January 22, in the Hubbard Performance Hall. Moderated by sophomore Thierno Diallo, the panel of 10 students and one faculty member from a range of nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds shared their perspectives on what defines one's identity, the universal experience of "otherness," and the experience of being a person of color at Loomis and in other communities.

On Thursday, January 24, an open meeting of PRISM and a dinner for all attendees was held on campus. And on Friday, January 25, a slate of talented students and local artists performed at a poetry and spoken word event in front of an appreciative audience of school community members in the Scanlan Campus Center.

MLK Week was coordinated by the school's Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

Read the news article about Mr. Hatch's convocation.

Connect to view a video of highlights from the community assembly, and a gallery of photos from MLK Week 2019.