"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."
Day of Concern
Upper School Explores Climate Justice
On January 6, 2020, Upper School classes were suspended so that students and faculty could participate in a day-long conference. The theme for this year’s Day of Concern was "Our Climate- Our Future." It is said that the climate will have a bigger impact on humanity than the internet ever had. If there can be a silver lining to the recent superstorms, wildfires, heat waves and droughts, it is a once seemingly unwilling public finally taking notice. In these critical times, public discourse on this topic is increasing, yet some say a bit too late. Considering our call to peace, equity and justice and the Quaker testimony of stewardship, the fitting response, we feel, is to engage in dialogue and action toward a sustainable future. The day’s events are outlined below.
Our day began with an opening performance by, hip-hop artist and founder of Flood Farm Collective, Donovan Robinson. This performance was followed by a talk from Lisa Garcia, program director of Fix, the solutions lab at Grist. Grist is an online media nonprofit focused on telling stories and sharing solutions on climate justice through award-winning journalism. Lisa, a native New Yorker, began her career as an environmental lawyer and led the EPA’s environmental-justice work under President Obama.
Next, students split up across 14 workshop sessions hosted by experts in the field, and Friends’ parents, alumni and students.
In the middle of the day, students watched a screening of Youth Unstoppable. This powerful documentary took us inside the rise of the Global Youth Climate Movement. Slater Jewell-Kemker was 15 when she began documenting the untold stories of youth on the front lines of climate change, refusing to let their futures slip away. Over the course of 12 years and set against stunning visuals of a planet in crisis, Youth Unstoppabl. follows the evolution of a diverse network of youth rising up to shape the world they will live in. Youth Unstoppable premiered at Michael Moore's invite only Traverse City Film Festival, going on to screen at dozens of festivals around the world and garnering thirteen awards.
Closing Session: Panel Discussion on the Green New Deal
The closing session consisted of a student-moderated panel on the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is a proposed United States legislation that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. The name refers to the New Deal, a set of social and economic reforms and public works projects undertaken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. Panelists (Leah Meisterlin, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation; Kevin YZ Chen, Sunrise Movement; La Keesha Taylor, Holmes Isaacs Coalition) discussed the potential impacts of this proposed legislation from a variety of perspectives.