On Saturday, March 2, Concord Academy alumnae/i and current students of color gathered in community and solidarity to share experiences and engage in dialogue about navigating the multicultural world we live in. The co-chairs of the Alumnae/i Community and Equity Committee, Karen McAlmon ’75 and Adil Bahalim ’02, opened the program with an affirming welcome for students, and Student Diversity Co-Head Adrian Balvuena ’19 shared his hopes and goals for the conference. “I hope to feel a connection with alums,” Balvuena said, “to see what I can learn and walk away with.” McAlmon described her many identities — as a mother, a neonatologist, and a trustee at Governor’s Academy — to remind students that they all carry many identities, and that race is just one. Bahalim encouraged students and alumnae/i alike to continue to grow and stand in their own truths as they relate to their racial and ethnic identities.
These students and alumnae/i convened in hopes of recognizing commonalities that unite them as people of color who have experienced CA, a powerful connector that transcends generations. In attendance were alumnae/i from the 1970s, 1990s, and early 2000s, and even a CA alum from the class of 2018. A common theme of the day was recognizing and using our respective “lenses” to identify, talk about, and stand in our truths. The diversity in the room of age, experience, race, and ethnicity naturally led to a discussion about the power that comes from owning our unique experiences. Through a series of discussion questions designed by Dr. Liza Talusan, students related their experiences as young people of color at CA and beyond, and alums responded with their own experiences, both at CA and as professionals of color navigating their careers.
The day concluded with a reception for alumnae/i of color, who were able to reflect on the day and consider how they could further support current students of color at CA. “We have been in your shoes,” Bahalim told current students. “We are here in solidarity and support to try and help you in any way that we can.” Students and alumnae/i were encouraged to stay in touch and build upon the beginnings of mentorships that had been sparked throughout the day.
Many thanks to the alumnae/i who attended and helped make this event such a great success!