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CA Curious

Together towards understanding

October 1, 2020

At Cary Academy, we respect and honor that each member of our community has their own unique beliefs, values, experiences, and perspectives. We credit that diversity as one of our greatest strengths and are committed to creating an empathetic community strengthened by our differences and connected by trust. 

As the political climate increases in tension, we want to continue to offer ways to build connection and understanding across groups and social circles so that, regardless of the outcome in November, we can be together as a school community that supports and cares for one another.

One of the ways that we build that trust and connection as a community is through our Dialogue Across Difference initiative. Over the next 4 weeks, leading up to the election, CA will hold weekly dialogues in the Upper School. The topics of the first two dialogues were chosen by the student body.  The purpose of these first two dialogues is both to offer space to connect with different students about their experiences on topics of interest–and to continue to build the muscle of having challenging conversations as a community.  

For these first two dialogues, CA facilitators reached out to the Upper School student body–talking to over 60 students from various clubs, groups, and unaffiliated community members–to learn more about what students were interested in dialoguing about.  Although there were several areas of interest, there were three topics that had a majority. Upper School students will be asked to participate in both sessions of one of the following dialogues.

Understanding Our Experiences of Gender at CA

  • Oct. 7th: Diving into the complexity of our narratives around gender

Participants in this dialogue will be grouped by gender: male, female and nonbinary

  • Oct. 14th: Understanding each other and our experiences of gender

Participants in this dialogue will be in mixed groups of gender

Working together towards racial equity at CA

Reflecting on our own experiences and hearing from of other Students of Color

Students of Color are invited to join this dialogue

Reflecting on how I engage as an ally

Students that identify themselves as Allies are invited to join this dialogue

  • Oct. 14th: Coming together to work for racial equity

Participants in this dialogue will be in mixed groups of racial identities

Stress, Anxiety and Mental Health as a CA Student 

Any student is invited to join this dialogue

Any student is invited to join this dialogue

The second two dialogues (dates TBA) will be explicitly about how we are dealing with the heightened tensions of this election season and how we want to be together afterwards.

This effort is being spearheaded by the Center for Community Engagement in partnership with our Student Director of Dialogue and Open Discussion, Meirav Solomon (’20), who has been extensively trained in different dialogue techniques. She brings a transformative passion to the work that aims to leave a legacy for our community. In her words:

I am super excited and motivated to provide CA students with the necessary empathetic, authentic, and uncomfortable spaces that hold dialogue. Dialogue not only teaches you how to interact and understand more deeply those around you. It also teaches you more about the world around you and yourself. I think dialogue is super important to my growth as a student, a global citizen and a human being. I have learned to listen, I have learned to speak out, I have learned how to access my stretch zone (where I feel uncomfortable speaking but not turned off) and I have learned where my limits are. Dialogue has taught me so much and I am so excited to see what CA students learn and understand after their first two dialogue days: October 7 and 14.

Written by Danielle Johnson-Webb, Director of Equity and Community Enagagement

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