Our Strategic Vision

Students Travel to D.C. for Black/Jewish Solidarity

By Kevin Murungi
Director of Global Civic Engagement and Social Impact 

As our students navigate the challenging world issues of the day, the current work of the Department of  Global Civic Engagement and Social Impact is to harness the power of BFS’ Strategic Vision and create significant opportunities. One of those opportunities took place earlier this month, when 19 Brooklyn Friends Upper School students and three colleagues traveled to Washington D.C. to center on the exploration of the history and intersectionality of Black and Jewish solidarity, in the fight for civil rights and social justice.

The experiential learning program—in partnership with our Upper School Black Student Union and our Jewish Affinity Groups—saw students engaged in several meaningful experiences. Among them, students visited the Capital Jewish Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

BFS students followed each visit with impactful conversations about the ways in which we can all be agents of change for a future that is free from hatred, persecution, and violence. At the Capital Jewish Museum, students learned about The Freedom Seder, conceived by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, in the days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Waskow came up with a new Haggadah—the guide to Passover service—that in his words “wove the story of the liberation of ancient Hebrews from Pharaoh with the liberation struggles of black America.”

After visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, students were deeply moved. They engaged in thoughtful and powerful reflection after each visit, and displayed an ability to dialogue in a manner that centered empathy and respect in sharing diverse perspectives, all deeply rooted in humanity.

Upon their return, students have expressed an eagerness to share their learning and experience with the BFS community and have already come up with excellent ideas on how to do so. Inspired by their experience, they will soon host a collection to engage their peers in how we can all work collaboratively to be social justice learners and activists for human rights.

Thank you to BFS students Orly A,.  Matisse A-R., Arlo E., and Theo L. for contributing their writings during the trip. Also, a special thank you to Theo for all of the great photos!