- John Lewis, Civil Rights activist
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.