On Monday, January 20, several Falmouth Academy faculty members and students (and a few siblings) attended the sold-out 13th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Breakfast at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel sponsored by Falmouth's chapter of No Place for Hate. The keynote was Dr. Dominique McIntosh, Ed.D. and the No Place for Hate-Civic Leadership Award was given to Samantha Bauer, founder of Inspiration is Everywhere.
Falmouth Academy students created evocative photo centerpieces featuring an image and a title addressing what they see as challenges of the times. The subject matter included climate change, politics, and self-care, just to name a few (view the images in this week’s Head of School Blog: The Challenges of our Times). Falmouth High School students created similarly themed ceramic works of art and Morse Pond students recited an excerpt from MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech and led everyone in song. Carol DiFalco was filled with hope at seeing so many young people in attendance. She said, “Our students could have stayed home but they showed up not just to listen but to engage, to help, and to be inspired. In a youth culture fueled by social media that promotes passive engagement by clicking the 'LIKE' button or double-tapping an image, our students went way past 'LIKE.'”
Falmouth Academy students were visibly moved by the message of “restless determination” which was the title of Dr. McIntosh’s keynote. At the end of the event, Leah Croom ’24 led a small group across the room to ask if Dr. McIntosh might be willing to speak at Falmouth Academy during Black History month next year. “She gets it!” says Jojo Torres ’25. “She puts it all in perspective.”
Dr. McIntosh started off citing examples of reported hate crimes from the past three years targeting various demographics across the country including the shooting of Jews at worship in a synagogue, burning a cross on the lawn of an African American family, attacking and killing a 23-year-old black transgender woman, and throwing acid in the face of a Latino man assumed to be an immigrant as he entered a restaurant. She went on to say that even though the number of hate crimes such as these reported by the FBI in 2018 (7,120 reported) went down, the violent crimes against individuals rose to a 16-year high across all demographics. She surmised that people are being meaner to one another.
Martin Luther King Jr said, “Violence is the antithesis of creativity and wholeness. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible.” In 1958, he went on to assert that the problem of race is America’s greatest moral dilemma. Dr. McIntosh amended MLK, Jr.’s statement slightly by saying that race isn’t the greatest moral dilemma but racism is and it is alive and well today–62 years later. To clarify, she made the point that race is just a difference between us and it is neutral. Racism is the value attached to it–where a race of people and their culture are considered superior to other groups.
She entreated, to make manifest MLK’s vision we need to ponder what courage looks like in the face of truth and to not ignore the inequalities that exist nor the dishonesty the distorts. She urged us to ask ourselves, “What I am willing to risk for someone else’s wellbeing?”