Fake news. Black Lives Matter. Women’s rights. These are just a few of the current issues Andover students are trying to grapple with. Phillips Academy is committed to equity and inclusion, youth from every quarter, non sibi. But how do you uphold these values when it feels like the world beyond our campus bubble is turning into the direct antithesis of everything we try to instill in our community? There are no easy answers. Conversations, however, are happening. Students want to be involved. They have a voice. And we need to listen.
Back in April Andover hosted Stand Up: Student Activism in Independent Schools, a daylong symposium for independent school educators and administrators. One of our presenters was the writer, video blogger, and cultural commentator Jay Smooth. Jay grew up in the burgeoning New York hip-hop scene and is the founder of the city’s longest-running hip hop radio program, WBAI’s Underground Railroad. Before his presentation, Jay joined Dean of Community and Multicultural Development LaShawn Springer to discuss his path from DJ to pundit, the current state of hip-hop and how today’s students can be supported in their efforts to lead positive change through activism.