This past Friday we had our MLK day workshops here at Exeter. My workshop was called “Wellness and the Struggle for Justice” and was run by Kameelah Rashad from the University of Pennsylvania. She talked a lot about what to do when something happens, whether on a large national scale, or on a much smaller personal scale, that upsets you or disrupts what you believe is right.
Something I found very interesting was her idea that to go about a world where negative things happen more than we would like, you need to dig a well of joy and protect it. This well can be comprised of people that make you happy or make you laugh, places that make you feel safe and happy, or anything else that can help protect you from negativity. It was an excellent reminder that there are lots of positive things in the world and as long as you look for them, you can find them.
Later in the session we all got up and started to talk to people we’d never met or weren’t familiar with in the room about our responses to the workshop and any personal stories that were related. I got to meet lots of people in the room that I’d never spoken to and got to learn more about them and their stories, which is a theme that continued through the rest of the day as well. After we talked to each other in small groups, we came back as a whole group and had the opportunity to ask Ms. Rashad questions and have a discussion. During this we talked a lot about how to approach discussions with people who have different opinions and what to do in situations similar to that. I think getting to hear how other people react to conversations about such important and emotionally charged conversations was helpful in learning how to make those conversations better. Overall, I was really happy with my choice in workshop and how it played out. The fact that we have a day like this here at Exeter is something I think is very important and beneficial for everyone.