Cultural Leadership welcomed Class 17 for our Opening Retreat over MLK weekend! For the first time in two years, students were able to gather as a full group at their first retreat, and share their perspectives in a safe space. Class 17 built their village on the concept of “Ubuntu” (a Zulu word meaning, “I am because we are”), and opened their minds and hearts to their peers, as they offered personal experiences, support, and validation during the fishbowl and “Schmutz” facilitations.
Following the Cultural Leadership Opening Retreat tradition, students participated in religious services via Zoom, as they could not attend in-person gatherings. Facilitator Fellow, Zoey Fleischer, led Havdalah on Saturday evening, and students sang “Baruch Atah, Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, borei p’ri hagafen,” as Shabbat came to a close. On Sunday morning, CL welcomed Reverend Allen Perkins of Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. Students engaged in a conversation about the history of the Black church, the meaning of Sunday service, and how praise & worship varies based on individuals and denominations.
Class 17 engaged in a bit of fun during the retreat, as we hosted our first Cultural Leadership “Riff-Off” (a singing competition), and even engaged in a couple games in their downtime! Students shared how enlightened and connected they felt as we closed the retreat and reflected on what they learned about themselves and their village. We have a great group this year, and are so excited to see the amazing things Class 17 has in store!