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The Beloved Community Initiative 2021-22: Home

 

Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.

- John Lewis, Civil Rights activist

The Beloved Community Initiative

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 and in the 2020-21, with a focus on the broad racial history of our school, with a particular eye toward understanding our legacy as an institution originally created by white people for the education of white students. 

This year’s Beloved Community Initiative will examine the experiences of SG community members of different nationalities and different family national origins. The explicit move to enrolling students from abroad came in the early 1980s, following the integration of domestic students of color and the transition to coeducation. Our series will examine the various motivations for our recruitment abroad, our preparation for the arrival of students from a variety of international backgrounds, the impact of their integration into the community, and - most importantly - the experiences of students and faculty who have come here from different parts of the world.

As always with the Beloved Community series, our aim is not to whitewash history but to take an honest look at our past and to raise questions that might lead to a fruitful discussion about how to own and learn from our legacy. 

Excerpted from the opening sermon by Chaplain Jackie Kirby and Associate Chaplain Virginia Buckles for the 2021-22 Beloved Community series, 11/18/21. Full sermon attached below. 

Additional Resources

Watch

From the Archives

Gardner Henry Fuller '09 of Lichfield, England

Gardner Henry Fuller '09 of Lichfield, England attended St. George's from the fall of 1903 through the spring of 1908. He is believed to be the school's first international student.

Timothy Dodwell '34

Timothy Dodwell '34, the first English Speaking Union exchange student at St. George's, attended for the 1933-34 academic year.

Class of 1908 - Lance

Class of 1908 from the Lance

This photo includes Arai Yoneo '08 (bottom left) a first-generation Japanese American student at St. George's School. 

Red & White article from December 4, 1929

This Red & White article from December 4, 1929, mentions that members of the English Speaking Union in the local community attended a speech along with SG students. It is believed that this kind of event would have provided an early introduction to ESU for SG folks, leading to SG getting involved in international exchange programs.

Billy Madison - AFS exchange student

In 1970, Billy Madison, a Sudanese refugee in Uganda, attended St. George's School for one year through the AFS. See below for the Red & White article about his life and experiences at SG.