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MLK Student Forum Explores Activism and Protest

On February 7, all Santa Fe Prep students participated in a full-day forum devoted to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which was intended to investigate the ways in which our school community can seek greater equity and justice. Organized by Prep’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Justice (DEIJ) Committee, the campus-wide forum was subtitled “The Evolution of Protest: How will your voice be heard?” and consisted of a short film showcase, speaker presentations, and interactive workshops on the topic of protest and dissent through art, music, and spoken word. In his opening remarks to kick off the day, Aaron Schubach reminded us that students are not too young for activism, citing Greta Thunberg and social justice advocacy via social media as examples. He stressed, however, how critical it is to engage in this activism thoughtfully: You’re not too young to begin, but choose your causes carefully. It would not be right to use your education, your energy, and the privileges you have by asking for something that is only beneficial to you – make sure your causes benefit the larger society and those who are most at risk.
Throughout the morning, 11th graders were in conversation with Santa Fe Poet Laureate Darryl Wellington, while other upper school students heard from Indigenous scholar and activist Lyla June Johnston and middle schoolers participated in a workshop with Wise Fool Circus, an artist and activist collective devoted to community, arts accessibility, and social justice. In the afternoon, our own Kristin Kalangis and Chris Ishee presented on the history of protest songs, after which local muralist Israel Haros Lopez of the Alas De Agua Art Collective spoke about protest art.

When asked for his thoughts at the conclusion of the forum, Prasanna Darlami ’26 said, “This was the First Amendment at its finest.” Thank you to the incredible slate of speakers, our students, and faculty and staff for thoughtfully participating in these conversations, and especially to the DEIJ Committee – Breshaun Joyner, Hanna Levin, Drew Walker, and Matt Ybarra – for organizing such a comprehensive and engaging event for our community.