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4th Annual MLK Symposium

Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere

January 20, 2020 - Episcopal High School - Alexandria, VA

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Sponsored by the Office of Community & Equity, Episcopal High School's 4th Annual 2020 MLK Jr. Day Symposium is a campus-wide initiative to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and celebrate his legacy and ideals. This year's theme: "Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere" aims to bring together a variety of voices and perspectives to foster greater awareness of the role Dr. King has played in the lives of all Americans and to facilitate conversations and that moves all of us to work toward true justice in our community and the larger global community of which we are a small part.

 Keynote Speaker

Ibram X. Kendi

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Ibram X. Kendi is the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped From The Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and How to Be an Antiracist. His relentless and passionate research puts into question the notion of a post-racial society and opens readers' and audiences' eyes to the reality of racism in America today. Kendi's lectures are sharp, informative, and hopeful, serving as a strong platform for any institution's discussions on racial discrimination.

When Dr. Ibram X. Kendi won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016 for a book about the history of racist ideas in America, some people felt a disconnect. Emerging from eight years of leadership under an African-American president, a narrative was building in America about the emergence of a post-racial society, colorblind to race and valuing merit over skin color. Kendi challenges this notion in his New York Times-bestselling book Stamped from the Beginning, taking an expansive view on race and racist ideas that spans from 15th century Europe until modern day America. Kendi’s insight on racist structures are the focus of his latest book, How to Be an Antiracist, which empowers readers and audiences to not only recognize the pervasive influence of racism and racist ideas, but to actively participate in dismantling it.

March Library Resource Page

Keynote Speaker
Concurrent Sessions


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Antiracist Workshop:

Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is a frequent public speaker who speaks with great expertise and compassion about the findings of his book and how they can fit into the national conversation on racial and social justice.

Kendi will be offering a debrief of his keynote presentation and a workshop on antiracist actions and decisions we can make to improve the state of all communities and schools.

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Ibram X. Kendi

Author & Guggenheim Fellow


Freedom Dreams: Disability, Race, & the Lives Worth Living

This workshop will explore how ableism has always been central to the creation, maintenance, and entrenchment of racial hierarchies in the US. Using illustrative historical examples, the attendees will be invited to reflect on how ableism and racism are not distinct systems of oppression. They are instead co-dependent structures which operate by ranking certain bodyminds as normative or desirable and others as deviant. Following this discussion of the historical underpinnings of today’s system of racial, class and disability-based inequality, attendees will learn how Disability Justice provides a roadmap for our collective freedom. 

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Azza Altiraifi

Disability Justice Workshop


Breaking it Down: Towards E Pluribus Unum

Participants create a safe space to learn about race amity. Race amity is not simply cross-racial friendship, but a conscious commitment to participating in meaningful cross-cultural relationships that allow us to express our many layered identities and to accept and support one another in our efforts to divest ourselves and our communities of racism. These relationships are not static but evolve, and are the means by which we can begin to 'break down' the many obstacles that keep the discourse on race in a cycle of blame, grievance and rejection. These relationships help push ourselves to develop insight, understanding, and progress towards our country’s founding vision that we are, out of many, one.


Lionel Rauth

Episcopal High School Faculty

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Protest Art: The History of Social Justice Posters

In the words of artist Paul Peter Piech (1920-1996), "The purpose of graphic expression is to realize some truth that they're missing and to do something about it… I don't want to sit around and be silent." Explore the long and vibrant history of protest art and create a unique visual expression of your own personal beliefs. 


Frank Phillips

Episcopal High School


Civil Rights and Episcopal High School's History

Learn about the research conducted by history faculty and students regarding the different voices of those who experienced integration in the past fifty years. Dive into the school archives regarding the culture of Episcopal during the Civil Rights Movement.​ Students examined school culture portrayed in The Chronicle and Whispers that revealed consistent discussions on campus regarding civil rights bolstered by visits from Virginius Dabney, Class of 1917; Armistead Boothe, Class of 1924; and journalist Hodding Carter.


Caroline English

Episcopal High School


The N-Word:

What's the Big Deal?

This workshop focuses on learning the history and gravity of the word in spite of its prevalence in popular culture. Attendees will gain a stronger sensitivity toward the use of the word and think critically about themselves as consumers and proliferators. Discussions and explorations on the concept of the mythical and highly coveted "n-pass", along with commentary and readings from scholars, writers, and critical thinkers, will provide a larger context for this thought-provoking workshop.


Louis Smith

Episcopal High School


Magic: A Window

Into Implicit Bias

Bob Weiman has performed magic since the age of five and has been active in school diversity, equity and inclusion work throughout his career. In this session participants will learn how magicians use psychology and a deep understanding of perception to manipulate audiences. This framework is applied to implicit / unconscious bias to give participants a better understanding about why this occurs and how it can lead to stereotypes and prejudice. We will discuss strategies for countering implicit / unconscious bias, and learn some magic, too!


Bob Weiman

St. Stephen's and St. Agnes

Associate Head of School


Race, Identity, and the Drum Beat of Freedom

This workshop explores how poetry was used and has been used to define and interpret freedom, equal rights, identity, justice, and socio-economic conditions. Important American poems help explore race, identity, and various ways of defining American freedom. Lofton recites, and performs the poems while Gregory Lee lightly provides percussion and teaches the historical importance of African drums. The workshop ends with students and participants writing, performing, sharing, and discussing their own interpretations of freedom, justice, and equal rights.


Synnika Lofton

Gregory Lee

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De-Radicalize Extremists:

Shannon Foley Martinez

Shannon Foley Martinez, a former violent white supremacist, has two decades of experience in developing community resource platforms aimed at inoculating individuals against violence-based lifestyles and ideologies. She has worked in at-risk communities teaching and developing dynamic resiliency skills. She has worked for school systems, nonprofits, and community organizations. She feels passionately about building empowered families and communities. She believes that we all have the power to enact profound and fundamental change in our lives.

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Shannon Foley Martinez

Reformed Extremist


Disability Justice Workshop

Educators Only

This educators-only workshop will provide an opportunity for deep reflection and guided discussion focused on the ten central tenets of Disability Justice. Schools, like other institutional arrangements in this country, are shaped by racism and ableism. Often, they are sites of violence and carceral control over non-white and non-normative bodyminds. Through prompts, examples, and storytelling attendees will reflect on what it means to build school environments that are safe, affirming, and healing for all. It will challenge attendees to re-imagine what universal access and radical inclusion can look like.

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Azza Altiraifi

Disability Justice Workshop


Hate Symbols &

Understanding Extremism

In 2017, hate crimes against Jewish people increased 57% from 2016 levels, the largest single-year increase on historical record according to the Anti-Defamation League. This workshop aims to understand the historical influences and modern influences on the rise of anti-Semitism in America (and across the world). The workshop focuses on open and honest dialogue about contemporary issues with the intent to understand the impact anti-Semitism has had on this community and others. Attendees should be prepared to read, listen, and watch material related to the alarming rise of hate groups in America. Attendees should also be prepared to discover ways to create empathetic partnerships with those of different faith backgrounds. 


Jeremy Goldstein

Episcopal High School Faculty


How 1960s Black Culture Shaped Modern Day Dance

We will look at music in the 1960s and how it shaped modern day dance. Examine the history of African American dance moves influenced by funk and soul. For the first time we dance with out a partner. Get ready to do the Mashed Potato, the Boogaloo, the Fly, the Penguin and the Funky Chicken. Wear comfortable clothing.


Adrienne Taylor

Episcopal High School


Gender and Jim Crow: Women in the Civil Rights Movement

This workshop challenges "the great man" idea of Civil Rights by focusing on the lives and work of Rosa Parks, Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer. Students will get introduced to these pioneering African-American women by watching clips from The Eyes on the Prize. Small groups will then work to dig deeper and really "get to know" one of these women by researching and asking who is "remembered" and why. Students then convene to share about these women, their perspective on leadership and the impact they had on the Civil Rights Movement.


Michael Reynolds

Episcopal High School


The History of the GLBT+ Rights Movement

Film viewing and discussion on the history of GLBT+ rights and the influence on American society over the past forty years. Film and discussion will move from the 1960s movement, through 1970s with Harvey Milk, to the most recent reforms and challenges facing the nation today. Topics will range from Stonewall to the continued fight for justice in today's society for all members who identify as GLBTQ+. Students should come with an open mind for hearing diverse perspectives and with the intent to understand.


Brent Erstad

Episcopal High School


Hip-Hop Pedagogy: The Inescapability of Blackness

Calling all Hip-hop fans! Let’s dive deep into the creative elements of the most influential culture in the world to explore activism against the re-emergence of Jim Crow, and the effects of colorism in the African American community. This presentation will analyze lyrics, imagery, and the influence of historical black leaders on Hip-Hop Heroes, including: Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Meek Mill, + more. Come enjoy a culturally relevant approach to the fusion of Black History, Hip-Hop, and Social Activism. 

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James "Trae" Watkins

Virginia Episcopal School

Coordinator of DEI


Live Poets:

Voices of a Diverse People

This multimedia and multifaceted workshop will include a variety of video clip performances, from the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King Jr. to the rise of the slam poet movement to contemporary voices that push the margins of free expression. After each video, students discuss its implications and our varied reactions to them. We expect and strongly encourage a variety of viewpoints in our effort to navigate the provocative and controversial topic of what justice and oppression mean in our diverse and integrated society today.


Mitch Pinkowski

Episcopal High School Faculty

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Shoulder to Shoulder

Faith Over Fear

Shoulder to Shoulder is excited to offer ‘Faith Over Fear’ Trainings around the United States to equip faith leaders to effectively counter anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia. Each training is specifically designed for individuals committed to countering anti-Muslim discrimination in their communities. We share up-to-date research, resources, tools, and messaging to help people be stronger, strategic, and effective actors in shaping our nation toward a greater vision - where all people, no matter their religious or cultural background, are treated with fairness, dignity and respect.


Shoulder to Shoulder

Faith Over Fear Workshop



Solèy Midi

Talie is a Philadelphia based singer-songwriter, podcast host and writer originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Her music, a mixture of Haitian folk and soul music, is a testament to the two culture that have shaped her as an artist and woman. Accompanied by her trusty guitar, Talie sings to honor a rich and difficult past and to present hopeful visions for the future for anyone searching for peace, especially people across the African diaspora. Talie recently released “Solèy Midi” a twinkling collection of original compositions and Haitian folk songs chronicling a journey to find the sun, to find peace. Solèy Midi is available on all major music purchasing and streaming platforms.

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Nathalie Cerin

Media & Arts for Peace


Race in

Stand-up Comedy

A roundtable mature discussion, supplemented by videos from recent and notable standup comedians who openly and frankly discuss concepts of racism and stereotypes. This workshop will be an investigation of the treatment of race in comedy. Subjects will include the use of racial language and stereotypes as well as the question of the general appropriateness of race-based material in comedy. Students are encouraged to submit relevant video before the session that challenge our understanding of race, of racism, and present thoughtful content. Please be mindful of the group norms expected in discussion.​ Due to the mature content of the material, this workshop is available only to 11th and 12th grade students who have not been part of the workshop in previous years.


Chris Davies

Episcopal High School Faculty

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How To Be An Antiracist: Analyzing the Text

Do you agree that, "there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of 'racist' isn't 'not racist.' It is 'antiracist.' ... One either endorses the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist or racial equality as an antiracist"? Dive deep into the argument Ibram X. Kendi proposes and analyze the text in a thoughtful and moderated space. 


Various Faculty

Episcopal High School


What's The Big Deal About Race? Exploring Your Identity

Why does everyone have to talk about race and racism all the time? Aren't we all the same on the inside? What does whiteness even mean? This affinity workshop offers students the chance to take a close look at their own identity and to understand racial identity through the exploration of culture, experiences, ethnicity and nationality. Using engaging discussions and material, this affinity workshop will allow students to explore differences and cross-cultural understanding in a safe space. This is for white students only.


Various Faculty

Episcopal High School


The Impact of Diversity

In Athletics

Explore the evolution of sports as an example of the power of diversity and inclusion. Did you know that 24% of the NBA is now comprised of  international players. No one would have predicted this development thirty years ago. The onslaught of Kenyan, Ethiopian and other African distance runners can be traced to decolonization. In short, diversity and inclusion are all about opportunity. Learn about the impact opportunity has had on concepts of justice and equality through the lens of sports.


Ray Brown

Former EHS Faculty


Morgan State Lacrosse

The Story of the Ten Bears

Learn the story of the nation's first and only college lacrosse team at a historically Black institution. When a young white administrator reluctantly accepted the position of head lacrosse coach at Morgan State, a six-year journey began. Underscored by the Native American roots of the game, The Morgan Lacrosse Story is a sports story like no other. This film recounts the tragedy and the triumphs of a truly inspirational team. A discussion and an examination of the role sports can play in breaking barriers and fostering strong communities follows the film.


Scott Conklin

Episcopal High School

Director of Admissions


VDN Upper School Students

Various Workshops

These STUDENT-LED and student-centered workshops cover a variety of topics from socioeconomic diversity, religious diversity, political diversity, race and ethnic diversity, and sexual and gender diversity. Students from various VDN schools present these thoughtful workshops to practice cross-cultural competency skills and facilitation skills. Students have previously attended local conferences and national conferences like the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference in preparation to host these workshops in their own school communities. Titles to be announced.

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VDN Member Schools

SDLC Student Cohorts




Keynote Address

Ibram X. Kendi


Morning Workshops

Concurrent Sessions


Lunch at Laird Dining Hall


Afternoon Workshops

Concurrent Sessions


Closing Community Circle

Callaway Chapel



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On Sunday, January 19th, to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service, Islamic Relief USA will be joining forces with our partners to help combat hunger by assembling meals to assist our neighbors in Alexandria and Washington, DC.


This project is hosted by 

Episcopal High School

We need your help to assemble over 100,000 meals! 

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