Black History Month 2021
With a commitment to creating a better Feehan for all of our students and a better society for all citizens, Bishop Feehan recently completed a school-wide celebration of Black History Month that included efforts across all aspects of our Feehan community. Importantly, these February happenings are just a part of an ongoing focus at Feehan around Diversity & Inclusion.
In fact, there has been so much going on, the Black History Month activities have stretched right into March.
Feehan’s campus ministry office, the school’s fast-growing “No Place for Hate” club, Mrs. Peixoto (coordinator of our “Rock Talks events), our students of color working group, Mr. McGhee, Mrs. Payson and Mr. Fasy all played key roles in bringing Black history, diversity and inclusion to the fore during this time.
Four students in particular — Praise, Mercy and Paul Ekomwen along with Tori Richardson — have been especially instrumental in our celebration and education initiatives.
So what’s been happening? Let’s make a list (though we fear it’s likely incomplete):
Once again, our February content calendar featured two guest speakers, though of course this year, we had to deliver messages virtually. Feehan’s Special Advisor on Diversity & Inclusion and Advisory Board member, Mr. Todd McGhee P’12 P’20, was the first speaker. Mr. McGhee - a retired Massachusetts state police trooper — offered his powerful perspective on recent news around police reform and de-escalation as well his very personal story of descending from slaves and tracing his family’s roots.
Alex Richardson ‘15 also came in to offer his perspective as a young Black professional (and Feehan grad) making his way from our campus to a leadership position with the Worcester Red Sox. Both Alex’s and Mr. McGhee’s talks were taped and then streamed to the Feehan student body in theology classes due to COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings. We also shared a 2020 ‘Rock Talk where Mercy, Paul, Praise and Tori gave their first-hand accounts of the challenges and opportunities that come with being Black at Feehan.
Another major effort spearheaded by our students was a bit of a surround experience highlighting accomplished Black Americans. These powerful examples were shared on posters hung throughout campus and in biographies read over the loudspeaker for morning announcements.
Take a look at a few of our highlighted historical figures here:
Mr. McGhee and a group of Black students also took the time to record Feehan’s first podcast, titled “Wisdom Trails” — a free-wheeling and insightful conversation that covers a host of topics all relevant to our Black History Month theme and all helpful in sharing the Black experience at Feehan and beyond.
Click here to listen in to the podcast.
No Place for Hate
One of the fastest growing groups at Feehan these days is the No Place for Hate group, organized in connection with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and moderated by Mrs. Payson, Mr. Fasy and Mr. McGhee. The organization welcomes all who want to get actively involved in making Feehan a more welcoming (for all) and more educated (about issues around discrimination, equity, inclusion and anti-racism) school.
In recent weeks and months, the group conducted a wide-ranging survey of students and faculty to help establish a Feehan baseline and recently released a video public service announcement (PSA) to the entire school about their work. In March the NPFH group unfurled a huge banner in the Feehan tunnel. The entire Feehan community will pledge their support for making Feehan a welcoming place for all. This work will help Feehan be recognized officially as a “no place for hate” school by the ADL.
Click below to watch the promotional video for the No Place for Hate promotional campaign
The No Place for Hate student leaders have also planned spring education programs for our spring athletes, student council leaders and McAuley Ambassadors on anti-bullying and anti-bias awareness.
The risk with a post like this is in leaving some efforts out. With so much going on these days, we almost assuredly have. We’ve heard of dedicated curriculum efforts for March and beyond, and morning prayers at Feehan have helped us focus on loving all, as well. The key take-away remains that this work, this effort to make Feehan ever-better for all, continues.