Diversity & Community Day ‘overwhelmingly positive’
On Tuesday Greenhills celebrated Diversity & Community Day with a day packed full of educational activities designed to raise awareness of salient diversity issues as well as motivate students to become more involved in local community service.
“I’m very happy that I work at a school that has chosen to commit to the ideals of diversity, multiculturalism, equity and justice, and that the Greenhills community chooses to actively support our diversity mission statement,” says director of diversity Nadine Hall.
At the day’s opening assembly, keynote speaker Robert Woods, first head of EMU’s African American Studies department, highlighted four individuals who are outstanding examples of selfless service and who have an Ann Arbor connection: Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks, Judge William McClain, philanthropist Margaret Towsley, and entrepreneur John Barfield. After presenting a detailed background on each, Woods encouraged students to take inspiration from them and find their own calling.
“There’s a special reason you’re here,” Woods said in his closing remarks. “In whatever you do, think of yourself as a sole force that exudes service. If your goal each day is to shed some ray of sunshine in someone else’s life, then service will come as natural as waking up.”
Finding a service calling was also the theme of closing speaker Meg Pouncy (pictured left), a Detroit native and activist, who is currently involved in three different service-oriented organizations in the city.
“Volunteer wherever you are and whenever you can,” Pouncy told students. “And it’s always good to start at home.”
In-between speakers, 8th-12th graders spent the morning divided into more than 20 small group sessions that were led by diversity and service leaders from across southeast Michigan on topics ranging from LGBTQ, intersectionality, social justice through hip hop, homelessness, and healthy food access, and in the afternoon watched one of five documentaries. Seventh graders took a tour led by the Detroit Historical Society and 6th graders ventured to the Arab American National Museum.
“Diversity & Community Day was designed to encourage students to engage in the understanding, accepting and valuing of diverse backgrounds,” concludes service learning coordinator Alyssa Friendly. “Judging from the overwhelmingly positive feedback I received, students left the day more aware of social responsibility and ways in which they can help better the world.”