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Community
Equity & Belonging

Working Towards a Beloved Community

Elaine Loft
On January 18, Derryfield commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day during Community Meeting in a program that included music, a keynote address, and reflections from members of the Derryfield faculty.

After the Upper School choir gave a remote performance of “Now Is The Time,” James McKim, Managing Partner of Organizational Ignition, author of The Diversity Factor, and President of the Manchester branch of the NAACP spoke on the theme of “Working Towards A Beloved Community.” McKim opened with a passage from a speech Dr. King gave on April 2, 1957, at the Conference on Christian Faith and Human Relations:

But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends.

McKim went on to pose several questions: “How do you feel when you belong? How do we achieve this beloved community? What might it take here at the Derryfield School…to overcome being discriminatory…to become a beloved community?” After outlining the three levels of discrimination that make people feel as if they don’t belong to a beloved community, and elucidating how love is a crucial component of the process of change, McKim concluded: 

So the message of the words from his speech, and, indeed, Dr. King’s life work is–love everyone, even your enemies…love had within it a redemptive power. That power eventually transforms individuals.

After Mr. McKim’s presentation, Dr. Brandon Gauthier, Director of Global Education, introduced four faculty members, Laurie Byron, Brennan Barnard, Anthony Bonjorno, and Dean Reina Stimpson, who each spoke about how in their individual lives they worked toward the notion of being a part of a beloved community. 

The program concluded with Dr. Gauthier asking McKim several questions, including: “How can our students find the strength to love in the face of hate?”

McKim replied: “Your fate is tied up with the fate of your enemy, so it is in your best interest to love your enemy.”

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The Derryfield School

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