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Social Justice Series

Igniting Minds. Inspiring Hearts.

Embark on a transformative journey with Canterbury’s Social Justice Series, a dynamic initiative where students like you come together to explore, understand, and impact the pressing issues of our time.

Annual Social Justice Series

At Canterbury School, the D’Amour Center for Faith, Service & Justice collaborates with various student organizations to present our annual Social Justice Series (SJS). This initiative is a cornerstone of our commitment to fostering a community that is actively informed and involved in societal issues. Each year, the SJS kicks off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with servant leadership retreat for the Fifth Form, our rising student leaders. It also includes a meaningful community-wide activity, where you, our students, have the opportunity to make a tangible impact. This is followed by weekly evening sessions, each offering insightful and relevant programming that encourages you to explore and discuss vital issues. These experiences are designed to enrich your understanding and inspire actions toward creating a more equitable and just society.

2023-2024 Series Topics

Monday, January 15

Servant Leadership Retreat - Fifth Form students

Featuring guest speaker DooA Kim '12

Tuesday, January 16  

COMMUNITY-WIDE ACTIVITY: Navigating Microaggressions among peers

Facilitated by the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Justice (DEIJ) Council

Following the 1965 Civil Rights Act, many laws were passed to dismantle the racist, discriminatory, and violent actions against BIPOC/marginalized people in the United States. However, the effects of slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and colonialism are still felt in 2024, expressed in overt and not-so-overt ways. This interactive seminar will exemplify some of the harmful microaggressions that appear in everyday life. Students will be able to identify what a microaggression is and its impact on our community and be given the tools and resources to better navigate and avoid perpetuating the status quo.

Tuesday, January 23

The Tuskegee Study and the Impact of Systemic Racism on Public Health and Health Care: A History of Medical Injustice  

Hosted by Head of School Rachel Stone P ’23, ’24

This seminar will include a discussion of the 1932-1972 Tuskegee Study, current examples of systemic racism in health care, and a look at vaccine hesitancy among Black Americans.

Tuesday, January 30

Beyond the Hit: Cultural Conversations Sparked by “Old Town Road” with Chris Molanphy ‘89, author of Old Town Road

In this engaging presentation, author Chris Molanphy ‘89 delves into the cultural and musical significance of the hit song "Old Town Road." Holding the record for the longest stay at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, this song became a phenomenon in 2019, notably boosted by the then-new social-video app TikTok. More than just a viral hit, it sparked debates over genre boundaries and racial identity in music, especially following its controversial removal from the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song, a blend of parody and homage to country music by Black artist Lil Nas X, and its remix with country star Billy Ray Cyrus, highlight critical conversations about music genres, race, and the mechanics of music charts. The author's exploration is not just about a catchy tune but a reflection on decades of American musical history and the changing dynamics of music popularity.

Tuesday, February 6

LGBTQ+ Identities and Vocabulary—Exploring Spectra We All Live Within
Hosted by Science Teacher Sally Ruderman & the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

An interactive session exploring identities and terminology within the LGBTQ+ umbrella, including discussion about how those who are cisgender or straight can benefit from utilizing similar vocabulary. Attendees will take the time to consider and explore their own identities as well as learn about the spectrums that those identifiers fall within.

Thursday, February 15

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Hosted by History and Social Sciences Department Chair Dr. Pádraig Lawlor and AP History Students

This student-led session will examine the complex tapestry of history woven between Israel and Palestine. Students will address the intricate religious clashes that have shaped the region's narrative over centuries. From ancient roots to modern conflicts, it will uncover the layers of cultural, religious, and political significance that have defined the relationship between these lands. The session aims to provide a deeper understanding of the historical contexts that have fueled tensions and address pivotal moments that continue to influence the present-day dynamics in the region.

Monday, February 19

Model UN: Peacemaking and Policies

Hosted by History and Social Sciences Teacher Stephen Hewston and Model UN Students

When leaders try to enact international change through policy shifts and political debates, it is helpful to understand the various viewpoints of those involved in the conversation, especially when these changes may impact global well-being. In this interactive SJS hosted by Model UN, students will use the Cold War and nuclear armament as an example to better understand the challenges that global and local leaders face when making these policy choices. Attendees will put themselves in the shoes of those in decision-making roles and try to create policy that promotes peace. Through this session, the hope is that participants will be able to better understand the challenges that come with global and local policy making through a real-life, historical example. 

Tuesday, February 20

"A Journey of Courage and Resilience" with Shabana Basij-Rasikh, Co-Founder and President of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA)

In this presentation, Shabana—a visionary leader and advocate for women's education—will share her extraordinary journey of founding and operating the first and only boarding school for Afghan girls. You will hear about the challenges and triumphs of leading an educational institution in a conflict zone and the courageous evacuation and relocation of her school community to Rwanda. A Middlebury College and Oxford University alumna, Shabana will also discuss her role as a global opinion leader, sharing insights into the power of education, the importance of resilience in the face of adversity, and the impact one individual can have in changing the world.

Tuesday, February 27

Hot WIngs 'N' Hot Topics

Hosted by Students of African, Hispanic, Asian, North American descent (AHANA)

Do you like hot wings? Do you like talking about hot topics? Join AHANA for the first-ever Hot Wings 'n' Hot Topics. During an interactive roundtable discussion, students will be able to discuss recent events in our society related to social justice issues that affect the broader and global community. While enjoying a selection of delicious wings, students will engage in productive conversations that spread awareness in the areas of social media, understanding diverse identities, and how Saints can better support Saints. Each table will have an allotted time to discuss their topic before rotating to the next table until each group has rotated through each topic.

Tuesday, April 19


Hosted by Sustainability Club and Mary Bridget Horvath '20

The adverse impacts of a warming climate are not felt equitably among all people on Earth.  This program looks at the science behind climate change in places like Alaska, where permafrost is melting at an alarming rate.  It is also causing the first U.S. climate refugees.  Come explore this topic with Canterbury alumna Mary Bridget Horvath '20, Geoscience and Biology major at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Tuesday, April 23 (Rescheduled)

Celebrating 52 Years of Title IX with "She Knows Sports" Founder and ESPN Sports analyst Terrika Foster-Brasby

Hosted by DEIJ Dean and Theology Teacher Sydney Feeney, Women of Canterbury, & the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Council

This session presents an important discussion with distinguished sports analyst Terrika Foster-Brasby about women in sports and Title IX, the federal law that bans discrimination against women in education. On June 23, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed Title IX into the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Prior to that, it was legal for colleges and universities to exclude women from certain academic programs and spaces, to admit women under more rigorous admission procedures, and to deny tenure of women in education at alarming rates—creating blatant educational inequities for women in the United States. Though Title IX would shift the culture and policies of many institutions, the modern-day implications of this discrimination can be seen in the inequity of women in sports all around the world. Terrika is most notably known as the co-host to ESPN's WNBA show "Around the Rim," alongside acclaimed women's basketball analyst LaChina Robinson. She is a regular analyst on ESPN's digital baseball show BBTN LIVE, WNBA Hoop Streams and Countdown to GameDay. She also serves as one-third of Inflection Network's 3on3 Podcast, with sports anchor Chris Williamson and WNBA's Didi Richards.