The Waldorf School of Garden City Black Student Union (BSU) was proud to host the first Black Professionals and Allyship Forum on Thursday, February 25th for the entire high school.
The forum offered students a view of the Black professional experience while providing insights about the importance of allyship. Panelists explored what it means to be a true ally, why is it important, and how we can all become better allies at school, at work, and in our daily lives.
Panelists included Irene Wu – Founder of the YX Foundation, Jeffery Beckham Jr. – CEO of Black Box Creative and Interim CEO of Chicago Scholars, Michael Brunker – CEO of Third Option City, Kevin Beckford – Co-Founder of The Hustlers Guild and Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity, and Chelsea Williams-Diggs – Program Specialist with Vera Institute of Justice. Read their full bios by clicking on the image at the top.
High School Chair, Roland Rothenbucher provided an introduction, and BSU students moderated the panel discussion and Q & A. The panelists shared the breadth of their experiences and their work toward a better tomorrow. The panelists also provided great advice to high school students yearning to make a difference. Chelsea Williams-Diggs from the Vera Institute challenged students to be brave enough to disrupt inherent systems of inequity and to quit groups that do not support this mission. Irene Wu, a current student at Harvard University and Founder of the YX Foundation, advised to always ask yourself what you are sacrificing in support of these goals, avoid “ego-projects” by not accepting the glory of being on the front lines without doing front-line work, and steer clear of posting on social media for clout. Michael Brunker of Third Option City said to not only ask yourself what you are doing with your own voice but to then ask what are you doing next? Kevin Beckford believed we need to hold each other accountable with grace and lead with love. The panelists went on to address important questions about explaining cultural appropriation, what a good ally looks like, and the repercussions of racism on mental health.
School Administrator, Nicole Littrean had this to say to our panelists, “…we are in deep gratitude for your will, intention, and passion you brought forth today. Thank you for your honesty and integrity but most important expanding a young person’s view. Your power today along with the shared experience will leave a lasting impact on our students and staff.”
High School Chair Roland Rothenbucher wrote “I want to add my accolades for all of the panelists’ spirit of generosity and wisdom which you shared with the young people in our school. The Forum we had was a memorable event that will continue to bear fruits in the lives of our current high school students and faculty. I am especially proud of our students’ efforts in leading the way as we as a school community seek to transform ourselves into a more inclusive, equitable, and just school.”
To watch a recording of the forum please visit: https://www.waldorfgarden.org/deij/black-professional-allyship-forum/
We are very proud of the student-run WSGC BSU for organizing and hosting this extraordinary event as the nation celebrated the contributions of Black Americans. A special “shout out” to junior, Sanaalee Troupe for her hard work and incredible leadership in pulling the details of this event together!