"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."

Day of Concern

Students Explore the Ethics & Politics of Migration & Immigration
On January 22, Upper School classes were suspended so that students, faculty and staff could participate in sessions that explored this year’s annual theme of Seeking Refuge: The Ethics and Politics of Migration and Immigration. Our world has been profoundly shaped by successive waves of human displacement, resulting in the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Economic downturns, environmental devastations, and political instability continue to catalyze human movement within and beyond national boundaries, forcing countries to consider the ethics of their response.

The Day of Concern hosted two plenary sessions. In the morning, Friends Seminary screened the documentary, Sky & Ground—a compelling, ground-level immersion into the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time through the lens of a large, extended Syrian-Kurdish family displaced by war. This Humanity on the Move and Show of Force collaboration aims to shine a light on the global struggle for safety and equal rights for refugees, migrants and displaced people through their own powerful stories. Director/producers Joshua Bennett and Maro Chermayeff joined our community for Q&A following the screening.

The afternoon plenary session was hosted by author Liliana Velásquez and editor/translator Mark Lyons of the book Dreams and Nightmares. Participants had the opportunity to bear witness to Liliana’s lived experience as a 14-year old undocumented minor from El Salvador who sets out on an arduous journey north. Stories like Liliana’s counter the many inhumane narratives that cast migrants and refugees as “drug dealers and rapists,” and instead offer us a perspective infused with the genuine human experience of migration—a perspective sorely in need during these perilous times.

Between the plenary sessions, the Day of Concern hosted breakout workshops facilitated by thought leaders from nonprofit, art, advocacy, and legal organizations working with immigrant and migrant communities.

Thank you to the following organizations and programs for participating in the day: American Jewish World ServiceRobin Hood FoundationGreenberg TraurigHuman Rights WatchPolitical Science Department at Baruch College, CUNYUnited Nations Population FundAmerican Civil Liberties UnionQueer Detainee Empowerment ProjectArmandoaidDreams and NightmaresShow of ForceDamascus With LoveCentral American Legal Assistance, Concern WorldwideGya Watson and Jusoor.
Credit: The homepage image for Day of Concern is the installation view of Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter, The Museum of Modern Art
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Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.
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