Community Programming and Activities: 2019-20
(Video Credit: Kaije Williams '23)
MMA’s Black Student Union (BSU) celebrated and honored Juneteenth through the arts and talent of its members through prayer, singing, dancing, and poetry and a Jeopardy game to test their knowledge of Juneteenth’s history. BSU incoming President Amber Wiggins '21 shared, “Juneteenth inspires me to spread today’s history through traditions, celebrations, and commemoration. Today we rejoice and reflect on the accomplishments of those behind us. And, I look forward to witnessing how we honor Juneteenth as a national holiday in the future.”
Click here for Juneteenth resources and opportunities.
Black Student Union Leads All-School Event
The Black Student Union hosted and programmed an assembly to honor Black History month. The club incorporated prayerful reflection, poetry, live music, and dancing into the all-school event.
Founded in the 2018-19 school year, the Black Student Union is an organization created to unite African-Americans in the MMA community, provide education about Black heritage, history, and culture, and raise awareness in the school community about the challenges facing African Americans today.
A.S.I.A. Club: One of Four New Clubs that Launched in the 2019-20 School Year
The A.S.I.A. (Asian Students In America) Club began its first year as a Merion club last school year. The A.S.I.A. Club works to introduce and preserve the Asian cultures at MMA and explores different cultures and topics including pop culture, folk tales, language, music, and social problems in societies today. Events from the 2019-20 school year included creating Japanese origami, writing names in Korean, and snacking on Vietnamese treats.
23+Me: Sisterhood is in our DNA—Freshman Experience
With the knowledge that freshman orientation extends well beyond a couple of days of introductions, meetings, and tours, the spring term presented a time for personal growth, class bonding, and further discovery of sisterhood. As we launched into the spring semester, a series of immersive and interactive activities took place, including: "Sister Soldier"—a workshop to learn the whys and hows of taking a stand to build sisterhood and empower your fellow sisters; and "Drum Like a Lady"—an all-female, black percussion band that focuses on wellness, female empowerment, and the importance of using your voice to "drum up" positive change in the world.
People of Color Conference/Student Diversity Leadership Conference
Merion Mercy administrators, faculty, and students attended the People of Color Conference (PoCC)/Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), the flagship of the National Association of Independent Schools' commitment to equity and justice in teaching and learning, in Seattle in early December 2019.
The mission of PoCC is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. PoCC equips educators at every level, from teachers to trustees, with knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike.
SDLC is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders from across the U.S. and abroad. SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participating students develop cross-cultural communication skills, design effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles. In addition to large group sessions, SDLC "family groups" and "home groups" allow for dialogue and sharing in smaller units.
Villanova University Program: "Responding to Everyday Bias with Dialogue"
Dr. Teresa Nance, PhD, Associate Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at Villanova University, along with eleven Villanova faculty members led students, faculty and staff in a half-day program entitled "Responding to Everyday Bias with Dialogue" in February 2020. The program included a whole-group presentation in the gym followed by separate student and staffulty breakout sessions.
Rho Kappa's Common Hour
Inspired by the tradition of many smaller liberal arts colleges, the Common Hour is an opportunity for all members of the Merion Mercy community to engage in a collective discussion of a contemporary social issue through the lens of academic scholarship. For the 2019-20 school year, the focal point for the Common Hour was on the intersection of the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy with the best practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Hosted by MMA's Rho Kappa (Social Studies Honor Society) Dr. Carol Rittner, RSM, Distinguished Professor of Holocaust & Genocide Studies Emerita, Stockton University, spoke on her recently published book, The Holocaust and the Christian World.