Alumni Weekend 2021 began on Thursday evening, April 22, with an Inaugural Town Hall for our Black Alumni. Hosted by noted Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) facilitator Rodney Glasgow, the evening’s event provided a place where our Black Alumni could share their Oldfields experiences and gain an understanding of the work we have started this year. Head of School David Perfield and Board Chair Nancy Palmer P’12 joined over twenty-five alumni, from classes as far back as the early 1970s, to listen and assure our former students that the commitment to this work is real, intentional, and ongoing.
Rodney asked two simple questions to get the conversation going. “What are you hoping to get from this experience?” and “What are you still carrying from your time on the Oldfields campus?” The next two hours were filled with memories and experiences that were heartbreaking in their honesty and clarity. This forum reaffirmed how imperative it is that we continue to change the narrative here on our campus.
Through the pain expressed, there was a call for joy. Several alumni shared their interest in forming a group to come together regularly, celebrating who they have become, being a part of a mentor program, and having Black alumni teach at Oldfields. While the Black Alumni Town Hall may be seen as a small step toward change, this cannot negate the reality that such efforts, on behalf of the School, are long overdue and in many cases, too little too late. The personal truths that were shared on Thursday evening reinforce our need to sustain the commitment to the DEIJ work at Oldfields School.