Bulldogs and Hornets Discuss

     Published on 12/21/15   Tagged under:    Nottingham High School   

Community Wide Dialogue is a program sponsored by Interfaith Works with the goal of ending racism. In Nottingham’s case, students are paired up with peers from Fayetteville Manlius. The students visit each other’s schools for a shadow day, before spending three more sessions going more in depth with the discussion section of the program.
    Community Wide Dialogue centers on stereotypes and biases in our society, particularly in regards to race relations. Before any shadowing occurred, all students sat down and brainstormed some of our pre dispositions about students of the other school. It was immediately clear of the archetypes that had been cast by outsiders for each school.
    These discussions were led by Nottingham student facilitators Xavier Boyer, Valerie Hartman-Souder, Breana Nieves Vergara, and Suzy MacPherson, as well as the FM counterparts of the same position. The dialogue circles are a very safe space, designed to be open and accepting to everyone’s thoughts. Adult “Allies” stepped in if needed. Mrs. Zizzi-Putmon and Mr. Roberts are Nottingham’s Allies. “Community Wide Dialogue is not just a club, it’s a safe space. You become so close to everyone over a brief amount of time because you all share so much. Whether its opinions or personal stories, the beauty of it is there is no judgment.” (- facilitator Suzy MacPherson)
                The first step in ending discrimination is to acknowledge the biases we all have about each other before we can move on. The first two sessions of Community Wide Dialogue were very enlightening, and I look forward to sharing more ideas not only with FM students, but with my own peers.