Seattle Academy Community Participates in Climate Strike Seattle
On September 20, 2019, members of the Seattle Academy community, including more than 250 students, faculty and staff, parents, alumni, and SAAS Parent Association Representatives, participated in the global Climate Strike.
The Seattle Climate Strike started at 9 AM at nearby Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill. Students, accompanied by faculty and staff, rallied together and took the four-block walk to be a part of the Climate Justice Festival. The Climate Justice Festival included workshops on the Intersectionality in Climate Activism, Organization 101, Youth v. Gov: Climate Change in the Courts.
The main stage offered a Youth Open Mic where Seattle youth took the opportunity to share their thoughts on Climate Change. Many Seattle Academy students spoke during the Youth Open Mic session including Kyra Wallace '24, who used her moment to talk about environmental protesting in the 1960's compared to today and sing a version of a Marvin Gaye's Mercy Me.
During the march, Lilah Amon-Lucas '23 was quoted in The Seattle Times saying, “this is the best way as a young person and a not-yet voter to make my voice heard.”
Back on campus faculty included the Climate Strike discussion into their week's curriculum. Students in Melinda Mueller's Civic Engagement course participated in Civic Engagement: To March of Not to March, that is the Question exercise to evaluate the "civic engagement" aspects of political rallies/marches in general.
Agreeing that our Mission as a school should guide our decisions is the easy part. Deciding what that should look like, in a dynamic and inclusive community that embraces a diversity of intellectual, ideological, and political perspectives, is the hard part.
A key consideration in our decisions must be, in the words of a SAAS faculty member, “how we model interaction with others for whom we may sometimes profoundly disagree.”
Unfortunately, there is a tendency for schools to avoid the issues altogether. They keep their heads down, and in doing so, fail to prepare their students to rise to the challenges of the world around.
There’s an equally dangerous tendency for communities to embrace a particular dogma or orthodoxy, and in so doing, undercut the potential for meaningful dialogue, informed advocacy and effective civic action, and productive disagreement.
At SAAS, we believe that our Mission requires that we reject both of those tendencies. We’ve supported students who choose to participate in marches and rallies in response to gun violence and school shootings, racial injustice and anti-Semitism, gender bias and discrimination, mental health reform and suicide prevention.
September 20 was an active day for the SAAS community with the Climate Strike starting at 9 AM followed by Fall Mania at 3 PM. First-year Division Head of Upper School Giselle Furlonge summarized the day in saying, "When I arrived at Fall Mania on Friday I was met by the steady stream of children passing by excitedly, clad in red with their Seattle Academy-tattooed faces. I saw one student standing with a small group of friends; I had chatted with them earlier in the day about their decision to attend the Climate Strike. I was struck by the relatively quick turnaround of identities for kids over the course of their day - scholars in the morning, activists in the afternoon, athletes, performers, and school supporters in the evening. When members of the girls' varsity soccer team took a knee during the national anthem it struck me how, in that moment, students are making choices about which identity to claim in any given moment and how they want to interact with the world. It reminded me of a Marian Wright Edelman quote, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”
"What I find remarkable about SAAS students (and adults) is their ability and desire to want to take on multiple roles in order to make better the spaces in which they are a part, even when it is difficult or uncomfortable. There is no choice between activist or athlete, educator or advocate. Rather than being in conflict, these identities complement each other to create a multi-dimensional community. What a cool place."- Giselle Furlonge