Global Solidarity Day
December 1, 2014
On Thursday, November 20th students and faculty of Mercy High School took part in Global Solidarity Day, a day of school wide reflection on the current conditions of society worldwide; the annual event emphasizes the part that we play in improving humankind.
The day’s events commenced as Mercy girls scattered to and fro throughout the East Wing in search of workshops designed to educate students about unjust conditions of women in our current world. The sessions incorporated global matters that ranged from evaluating the education gap between boys and girls in developing countries to stereotypes of female identity. These workshops were meant to challenge girls to think beyond their Chipotle-consumed, iPhone-filled, selfie-saturated worlds. While most students complain about the seemingly infinite hardships of high school, other girls are limited by traditional views of feminine obligation (of primarily serving others as wives and mothers) and crave the opportunity of education. Today, sixty-six million girls aren’t receiving an education. Studies have shown that when a girl receives an education, she is more likely to pass on the pursuit of knowledge to her own daughters. When girls are handed books in a classroom and are enabled to explore through learning, their minds are opened and their opportunities are expanded. The lack of girls’ education must not persist when girls are saved from lives of slavery, protected from fatal child birthing, and go on to become great politicians, doctors, writers, and engineers by simply gathering within a classroom everyday and being inspired. The notion of solidarity among all people, especially women, (in growth and well-being) has been firmly established through years of service within and far beyond the Mercy community.
Two years ago, Mercy girls from across the country gathered at a leadership conference held in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. Within the think tank-like atmosphere, the girls developed the idea to build a primary school in South Sudan. In an effort to sustain the quality of education at Mercy’s established institution of learning, the coalition of Mercy sisters announced that this year’s initiative is to provide food and supplies for the young scholars at this school.
To end the day’s activities, the student body and faculty engaged in a session in which the Catholic Relief Services’ work to end hunger around the world was presented. The closing ceremonies also included contemplating God’s role in and teachings of solidarity through dance, prayer, and calls to action. Catholic Relief Services presented Principal Jeanne Blakeslee with a plaque acknowledging the activism of Mercy’s student body and faculty in their efforts to better the global community. In the end, those shuffling from the auditorium carried with them the message that the event reminds us of every year: each person can make change happen. In the halls of Mercy High School, perhaps a spirit of merciful compassion lingers as prevalently as Catherine McAuley’s very first proclamation of opportunity for all persons, both men and women, old and young.