Over 1,600 students, faculty, and staff gathered virtually as a community on February 25 for honest, reflective, and productive speeches and conversations at an event titled, “Showing Up for Each Other: Becoming Authentic; Allies, Advocates, and Accountability Partners.”
“We hope that what you hear, discuss, and plan over the few hours brings some healing for our Curry community and causes us to go forward with a sense of purpose, and perhaps, optimism,” said President Kenneth K. Quigley, Jr., who opened the event. “However, we know that we still have a lot of work to do regarding diversity on our campus and in the nation. And we are committed to doing that diversity and inclusion work at Curry College. Although we are proud of our past DEI work, clearly there is need for ongoing and deep introspection, work, and causing needed change across our institution. I recognize it’s not always easy to admit to shortcomings but doing so is how we start the process of change.”
Jeannette Buntin, Assistant Vice President of Engagement and Diversity Student Affairs introduced three student speakers Ellen Apotheker '23, Nic Najac, '23, and Sierra Fiore '23, who each shared their personal thoughts and experiences.
Keynote speaker Rabbi, Dr. Alfred Benjamin from Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills in Milton spoke about Jewish history, the Holocaust, and why the swastika is a symbol of hate. Referencing Rabbi Hillel from the 1st century, Rabbi Benjamin said it was okay for everyone to take care of themselves, but one also must also always think and take care of others.
“The Talmud teaches us that silence is acceptance, silence is agreement, and now cannot be the time for silence,” said Rabbi Benjamin. “Indeed, this country is still very much an imperfect union, there is work to do, to help our community, to help this country live up to its highest ideals and it’s on us do it now.”
Carole Copeland Thomas, a thought leader and public speaker on multiculturalism, global diversity, empowerment, and leadership, was the second keynote speaker. A former resident of Milton, she broke down her theme of “Stand Tall, Stand Up, and Stand Together” with inspiring stories, pragmatic suggestions, and words of hope.
“You are a great community,” said Copeland Thomas. “You are a community where the stage has already been set, the background is already there, it’s just a matter of you now working collectively in the spirit with other people and standing up for what is right.”
Copeland Thomas said each member of Curry must think about the role they play in the community. “I know through this endeavor, and other future endeavors like this, you will grow stronger, and you will move forward as you look at ways that you can become stalwarts and beacons of hope and light in these dark times.”
After the talks, attendees were invited into smaller breakout rooms for follow-up discussions. The final portion of the event included bystander training from members of Equity Intelligence, who the College partnered with to produce the event.