After an introduction from Caleb Collins, Director of Community and Diversity, guest speaker Kevin Powell began the event with a riveting talk in chapel that set the tone for the day. Mr. Powell is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today. He has penned articles, essays, and blogs for a wide range of newspapers and magazines and major websites, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NPR, ESPN, Essence, Ebony, Rolling Stone, Esquire, HuffPost, and Vibe, where he was a senior writer and founding staff member. Mr. Powell is the author of 13 books, including his critically acclaimed autobiography, The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood, which is being adapted for television. One of his upcoming books will be a biography of Tupac Shakur, who he interviewed many times while working for Vibe. As an activist, Mr. Powell is also a cofounder of BK Nation, a new American organization and website focused on civil and human rights and equal opportunity for all people. He also ran for Congress in New York City in 2008 and 2010. Mr. Powell is one of the producers of "SHE, a Choreoplay," a major theater production about ending violence against women and girls, and healing and empowerment, created by his wife Jinah Parker, the dancer, choreographer, and playwright. “SHE” will make its Off-Broadway debut in the second half of 2019.
Mr. Powell emphasized that the most important theme for Diversity Day was to know who you are. His talk touched upon hot button issues such as #metoo, what it means to be a man today, and the divisiveness that is all too prevalent in our society. He emphasized that he chooses to love, but acknowledged that it is not always easy. His positive, inspirational talk resonated with the boys who participated in a lively Q&A after the talk.
After the chapel, Mr. Powell debriefed his talk, working with advisor groups from different Forms. Back at chapel, students who attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) talked about the conference and some of the key takeaways they experienced. Later in the day, Mr. Collins led a workshop with Form VI that focused on perspectives of people and ideas, while student groups SAFE, PRIDE and those who attended SDLC led students through activities they had participated in at the conference. Mr. Powell spoke with Form V about leadership and becoming a man. The day closed with a presentation on implicit bias by Belmont Hill parent Millie Gonzalez.
Later that evening, Mr. Powell spoke to parents at a dinner for Parents Fostering Diversity.
“Diversity Day truly conveys that this community cares for each other and provides a safe place to discuss challenging topics,” Mr. Collins said. “That means a great deal to me.”