As a follow-up to our Unity Day program in the fall, which focused on the Black Experience at St. Sebastian’s, we held a second Unity Day program on May 21, highlighting the Asian experience in America. We were beyond blessed to have Dr. Chris Hahm P’22,’25 address us from Ward Hall and have her presentation livestreamed to students and faculty gathered in classrooms. Dr. Hahm, Chair and professor of the Research Department at the Boston University School of Social Work, is the first Asian-American to be promoted to full professor at BU School of Social Work. Her work bridges epidemiology, theory building, and intervention development in order to better understand the causes of depression, self-harm and suicidal behaviors among Asian-American women. This important research is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health grants.
Dr. Hahm, a leading local and national leader in the movement to support Asian-Americans and to promote a more diverse and just society, shared alarming statistics and stories about the fear and trauma Asian-Americans have suffered during the pandemic and throughout the past 150 years in this country. She used specific examples of major and micro aggressions and slurs to explain the terribly negative and most damaging experiences of many Asian-Americans. Hahm memorably asserted that “inaction is action” and encouraged students not to remain silent, but to speak up and tell someone if they see something that is unacceptable. Afterward, our students broke into discussion groups and reconvened for a powerful Q&A session with Dr. Hahm. We were left feeling much more deeply connected to our Asian-American brothers and sisters. Truly, we are one, and we need to take good care of one another.
Over the course of two days, May 20 and 21, students in Grades 8-11 also participated in Red & Black Day, pivoting from deep reflection to friendly rivalry. Arrows were divided into two groups – Red and Black – and competed in a variety of activities, including flag football, softball and ultimate frisbee, providing a wonderful opportunity for our young men to have some fun and bond with each other before the school year comes to an end.
We thank MPA seniors, Lolo Garcia-Marxuach and Jonathan Jones-Booker, who helped us put our very successful Unity Day program together, and we thank the many other members of the Class of 2021 who led the discussion groups and supervised the Red & Black competitions.