Chaplain Jackie Kirby announced the initiative as a mission “to move St. George’s closer to what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described as the ‘Beloved Community,’ characterized by compassion, kindness, mutual understanding, and respect for the dignity of every human being.”
Over the course of the 2018-19 school year, students and faculty took part in the “Beloved Community Initiative,” a program focused on the history and legacy of race and slavery in the United States, Rhode Island, and St. George’s School. The Beloved Community Initiative continued in 2019-20 school year, with a focus on gender and coeducation at St. George's.
This year’s Beloved Community Initiative will examine the history of St. George’s in relation to racial inequity. Whereas in the first year of the initiative, we examined the history of racial integration at SG and talked about the experiences of the first Black students, this year we will look at the ongoing racial evolution of the institution more broadly. As an Episcopal School devoted to intellectual inquiry and the pursuit of justice and truth, we are committed to acknowledging the difficult parts of our past while reflecting constructively on the present and future of our school.
Our upcoming speaker series will explore the topics of power, privilege, equity, and voice in the ongoing racial history of our St. George’s community. We aren’t here to offer any easy answers; rather, we are hoping to reflect on our history and to raise questions that might lead to fruitful discussion about how to own and learn from our legacy.
Members of the community will research and speak about various aspects of the school from an historical perspective with a specific goal of investigating racial inequities. Guest speakers and alumni will be invited to share their own stories and to reflect on areas of progress and potential growth for our school.
St. George's School, undated sketch by Katherine Hoyt, parent '63 and wife of former faculty member Norris Hoyt.