Courageous Conversations Mission:
The mission of the Courageous Conversations Program is to expose students to diverse cultural traditions and contributions, as well as provide opportunities for dialogue and perspective taking. The programs will provide a vibrant demonstration of our community’s celebration of diversity, increase our students’ cultural awareness and appreciation, and signal our commitment to engaging in important civic conversations.

Past Courageous Conversations
2016-2017
Karim Nagi: Addressing Islamophobia and the stereotyping of Arab culture through music, teaching and dance
Karim Nagi performing at WHS

On April 13th, 2017, WHS launched its new Courageous Conversations Series through an assembly with Karim Nagi, an Egyptian performer and lecturer who uses music and humor to explore weighty topics like Islamophobia and the dangers of stereotyping. Karim wowed WHS students with his unique style of lecturing, which wove personal anecdotes and cultural teachings with traditional drumming and dance.


2017-2018  
Marion Lazan: Addressing the importance of historical memory in regards to the Holocaust as a way to promote greater understanding and compassion between people

Marian Lazan speaking to students at WHS

On Tuesday, November 28th, 2017, Holocaust survivor and renowned author Marion Blumenthal Lazan visited WHS to discuss her experiences as a nine year old girl being sent with her family to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp run by Nazi Germany. Ms. Lazan impacted students with her deeply personal recollections of survival in the camp, emphasizing the importance of historical memory as a way to combat political indifference and intolerance.

 

LGBTQ Alum Panel: Addressing the experiences of LGBTQ students in our community

Westwood Logo W with rainbow colors

On Friday, January 5th, group of WHS LGBTQ alum were invited to lead a panel discussion on their experiences as students at Westwood. They wanted to share stories about their coming out journeys and their experiences beyond high school. (Note: This event was snowed out, and has been rescheduled for the 2018-2019 Courageous Conversations year.)

 

Mental Health Awareness Week:  Raising awareness and reducing the stigma associated with mental health challenges

Carl Antisell from Minding your Mind    Rock Painting

Carl Antisell from Minding Your Mind          Rocking painting

Therapy dog visit    Gratitude display

Therapy dog visit                   Gratitude display

 

During the week of February 5 - 9, Westwood High School sponsored its first annual Mental Health Awareness Week.  Students and faculty were invited to participate in a variety of ways, culminating in an opt-in assembly featuring Carl Antisell from Minding Your Mind, who spoke about his own personal experience with anxiety, depression, and substance use.  Students participated in daily activities during lunch aimed at teaching coping skills and reducing stress such as playing with therapy dogs, rock painting, coloring, and listening to live music performed by faculty and students.  In addition to bringing their classes to the assembly, faculty were invited to introduce a “mindful minute” as a part of their daily instruction as well as come for a free yoga session after school.

 

Origination Dance Company: Energizing audiences with a message of cultural understanding through dance and spoken word

 

Member of Origination Dance Company speaking to WHS Students  Origination Dance Company performing at WHS

 

On Wednesday, April 25th, the Boston group Origination performed an hour-long assembly to advocate for diversity and share African and African-American influences in dance and spoken word. Artistic Director Shaumba-Yandje Dibinga and 6 dancers aged 14-21 performed a range of dances that included West African, hip hop and modern contemporary.

 

Origination dance company at WHS

 

 

 

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