In commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, New Canaan Country School hosted Daryl Davis, a race relations expert and a celebrated American R&B musician, on Jan. 19 and 21.
Mr. Davis is known for engaging with members of the Ku Klux Klan. When he was 10 years old, after being the target of racism at a Cub Scout parade, he set out to seek the roots of racism and answer a question that has become central to his work: “Why would someone who has never met me hate me because of the color of my skin.”
Mr. Davis is the subject of a 2016 documentary on Amazon Prime “Accidental Courtesy," and the author of the acclaimed book Klan-Destine Relationships. His TED Talk has 10 million views.
His presentation focused on the importance of listening and engaging in dialogue with those with whom one vehemently disagrees. “We have to be able to sit down and listen and talk to one another, even with someone whom you consider to be an enemy.”
Over the years, dozens of Klan members have left the group due to Mr. Davis’s persistent efforts to dispel ignorance and fear. “We must all work in whatever ways we can to bring about change. Do I want to sit back and see what my country becomes, or do I want to stand up and make my country become what I want to see?”
“Mr. Davis’s appearance is part of an ongoing Faculty & Staff Professional Development series to help our community learn to be even more courageous, especially around topics like overcoming racism,” said Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kojo Clarke.
Students in 6th through 9th grade connected with Mr. Davis for a student-centered discussion, with the goal of inspiring students to strive to make connections with those they may initially consider different from themselves.
New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.