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Social Justice Series


The D’Amour Center for Faith, Service & Justice partners with multiple student groups for Canterbury’s annual Social Justice Series, which creates spaces for students to deepen their knowledge and engage in conversations around issues that are critical to building a more fair, just, and equitable world. The series kicks off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a day of service supporting local organizations and continues weekly, offering 12 evening sessions of vital, topical programming through early May 2022.  

 “This is an opportunity to come together to educate about and discuss issues of race, gender, sexuality, ability, and myriad aspects of our intersectional identities. Through the series, we consider how we can begin to move closer to creating a just, humane, peaceful, equitable, and sustainable world by working together.”
— D’Amour Center for faith, service & justice Director Tracy Garcia-LaVigne P ʼ14, ʼ16, ʼ17, ʼ20, ʼ23


Week 1

Monday,  January 17

Servant Leadership Retreat

Thursday,  January 20  

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 and current examples of systemic racism in health care; a look at COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Black Americans and current COVID-19 vaccination rates by race/ethnicity.

Week 2

Tuesday, January 25

Interfaith Panel: Exploring Differences and Similarities—Hosted by the Theology Dept. and Interfaith Council

Canterbury’s Theology Department and Interfaith Council will be joined by friends of Canterbury, Imam Gazmend Aga, Monsignor Joe Donnelly, and Rabbi Eric Polokoff - who all lead their own religious communities, as well as travel throughout Connecticut to speak with communities about religious unity - to discuss the differences and similarities between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and how they all play a key role in social justice issues in our society.

Week 3

Tuesday, February 1   

Driving Social Impact Through the Power of Storytelling—hosted by Mallory Weggemann Co-CEO/Co-Founder & Executive Producer at TFA Group & 5x Paralympic Medalist & Jay Snyder '01 Executive Producer, Producer, Director and Co-CEO at TFA Group

The only way we change perception is if we change the conversation and the only way that happens is if we have greater representation. With an authentic approach, TFA Group produces purpose-driven content utilizing the power of storytelling to drive social impact, showcasing the transformative power of content to change perceptions and make a difference in our communities and around the world. 

Mallory and Jay took their two passions - sports and production - and created an agency and production studio with a simple but ambitious goal: to change the perception of disability in our society through the power of storytelling. Join us in learning more about their mission and vision, followed by participant questions for our guests.

Week 4

Tuesday, February 8

Understanding Our Community: Exploring the Different Levels of Intersectionality—hosted by English Teacher Olivia Pena

During this instructive and interactive session, we will investigate the concepts of intersectionality, privilege, and double standards. These concepts impact the lives of every individual in our community, so let's look to gain a better understanding of how identities shape our experiences at Canterbury and everyday life. 

Week 5

Tuesday, February 15 

Food Justice and Sustainability—hosted by the Sustainability Club

Food justice seeks to ensure that the benefits and risks of where, what, and how food is grown, produced, transported, distributed, accessed and eaten are shared fairly. Food justice represents a transformation of the current food system, including but not limited to eliminating disparities and inequities. Topics to include: Food Deserts, Farm Workers & Migrants, and connecting food to ways of lowering your environmental footprint.

Week 6

Tuesday, February 22   

Queer History & Current Events—hosted by the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

For thousands of years of recorded history, there have been lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer people in our societies. When did queerness start being seen in a negative light, and where have we progressed since then? What are some of the biggest moments in queer history that we should all know about? How have LGBTQ+ rights progressed in the last century?

Join the GSA to talk about how queer history is still relevant, what's going on in LGBTQ+ rights and news today, and discuss what changes remain at the forefront of advocacy.

Week 7

Tuesday, March 1 

Buying with Purpose—hosted by the Canterbury Business Association

How can you become a more informed buyer and use your dollar to benefit the world? What kinds of companies give back?

Your dollar is one way for you to use your voice. In this seminar, presented by the Business Club, participants will learn more about type B Corporations or business models that seek to give back to the world. They are companies that use the power of the marketplace and their sales to help solve social and environmental problems. B Corps must get certified to meet a comprehensive set of standards that speak to their social accountability, transparency on products and development, and social and environmental performance. Essentially, these products give back. Think companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry's, Allbirds, Cotopaxi, Frank & Oak, Tentrees, Bombas and more.

Week 8

Tuesday, April 5

Markets and Morals hosted by History & Social Sciences teacher Stephen Hewston & Theology teacher Amy Omaña '86, P '19, '20

What is a fair price? How far can greed get you? What do economists even do? In this discussion-based seminar, we will explore what the role of economics is in a society that strives for justice.

Week 9

Tuesday, April 19

Student-Led Conversations—hosted by the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Council (DEIJC) 

Student leaders involved in equity and inclusion conversations around campus will host this spring session, featuring guest speaker Dr. James Bauer, who will will speak about why implicit, as well as explicit bias, needs to be addressed within school curriculum and how the lack of it has continued to perpetuate and influence the social emotions of students. He utilizes his own personal story with anecdotes and photos to demonstrate how the pervasiveness of racism has separated his family. His presentation visually illustrates the hidden aspects of race that we all embody in one way or another, on how we look for example at skin color, and how these preconceived reactions lead us on a path of continued bias and discrimination. Dr. Bauer has led conversations in the past at Colgate University, University of Connecticut, Taft School, and The Frederick Gunn School.

Week 10

Tuesday, Apr. 26

"Walking with the Excluded," an evening with Fr. James Martin, S.J.—hosted by the Sacristans

Week 11

Thursday, April 28

Inspired Leadership: A Discussion with Canterbury Trustees—hosted by the Women of Canterbury

The Women of Canterbury will host female members of the Board of Trustees for an evening of dialogue and questions.

Week 12

Thursday, May 3

The Holocaust—hosted by the History Club

This presentation will explore how hatred, fear, and demagogues lead to anti-minority laws, the Holocaust, and Holocaust denial. We will also discuss how important this subject is in our lives today.

2022 Social Justice Series Read

Please join us in reading & discussing: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Book discussion gatherings: Sundays, February 13, 20, & 27 

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions toward hope in our common humanity.

Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today. (Amazon)