Keynote Speakers

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • Aimee Allison

    Opening Keynote Address:
    How We Meet This Moment With Courage: Our communities and the country face challenges to democracy, equality, and a country where everyone belongs. How can this generation rise to the challenge and provide leadership that the country needs the most? We need to practice solidarity, to promote democracy, and to have courage. 

    Aimee Allison is the founder and president of She the People, a national organization that elevates the voice and power of women of color as leaders of a new political and cultural era. She made political history in 2019 when she organized and moderated the nation’s first presidential forum for women of color which led to to widespread recognition of the issues and strength of this voting block. For the past 5 years, has been a leading advocate for women of color on the presidential ticket, on the Supreme Court, and in Congress. Allison’s expert political insight and power building efforts have been featured across national and international media outlets from Politico to the New York Times and PBS to MSNBC. Allison holds a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University.
  • Dr. David Kyuman Kim

    Scholar and Founder Radical Love Productions

    Closing Keynote Address

    Solidarity Matters: A call to stand in the Kingian legacy of multiracial solidarity and love-driven justice. 

    Dr. David Kyuman Kim is Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Religion at the University of California, Berkeley and Founder of Radical Love Productions, a media and consultancy company dedicated to creating content that speaks to the most important moral issues about what it means to be human, specifically around questions of race, democracy, and justice. Most recently he served as Executive Director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. For nearly twenty years, Dr. Kim was Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Connecticut College, where he founded the first center on race and ethnicity at a liberal arts college. He has held appointments at Brown, Stanford, UPenn, Union Theological Seminary, the Graduate Theological Union, UC Berkeley School of Law, and the Social Science Research Council, where he served as a Senior Advisor and Editor-at-Large of The Immanent Frame, the SSRC’s online platform  on secularism, religion and public life.

    Author of Melancholic Freedom: Agency and the Spirit of Politics (Oxford 2007) and co-editor of The Postsecular in Question and Race, Religion, and Late Democracy, he is widely published in the fields of religious studies, Asian American studies, political theory, and race and democracy. Cornel West calls him “the leading philosopher of religion and culture of his generation.” His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Truthout, and The Immanent Frame. His podcast and book The Public Life of Love are in development. A food enthusiast and classically-trained musician, he lives in Oakland, CA.

Thacher Affinity Group Workshops

List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • Black Student Union

    Title: Lessons from Mr Balano: A fireside chat 

    Presenters: Mr. Christian Garris, Kennedy Moore, Arinze Okigbo, Tevarion Jackson

    Description: Matt Balano made an indelible impact on the Thacher community during his tenure as Director of Equity and Inclusion, supporting the development of affinity groups, a multi-cultural center, and generally fostering a sense of connection, respect, and community. He modeled openness and honesty in his beloved weekly fireside chats. In honor of Mr. Balano, the Black Student Union will host their own fireside chat. Each BSU leader will share a lesson they learned from Mr. Balano and use that to prompt further discussion. Workshop attendees will also be invited to add to the discussion and reflect on Mr. Balano’s legacy as well as what work still needs to be done.
  • First-In

    Title: "First-Gen" - when did the term first emerge in the college landscape, what goals were initially associated with this community of students, and what progress has been made?

    Presenters: Fabiola Peñafiel, Ms. Hooper, Ms. Hutchins, & Ms. Morales Kent

    Description: The workshop will provide a brief snapshot of the emergence of the term “First Generation College Bound” after the Civil Rights Movement and how college access has improved or not for these students since then. In addition to some history, we will offer a current perspective on what it means to be a first-generation student today by looking at the socio-economic and personal impacts of college attendance for a student and their family as well as the implications on the start of generational wealth. Using excerpts from the book The Privileged Poor, we hope to prompt conversations on the challenges and successes of these students. 
  • International Students at Thacher

    Title: Seeking International Solidarity Through the Appreciation of Food
    Name of Presenters: Ms. Charlotte Humes, Annie Wang, Grace Zhong, Jay Jiang

    Description: Our workshop seeks to understand the role of food in bringing people together throughout history and the ways that inform our current understanding of culture and internationalism. We will explore prominent examples of food trade, such as spices along the Silk Road, the complexities of celebrations like Thanksgiving, and culinary creations that have resulted from the mix of different cultural foods like fajitas and nachos. Designed to be both fun, informative and to raise awareness surrounding topics that dominate the daily landscape, students will gain a deeper appreciation of how food transcends mere sustenance, acting as a powerful medium for building relationships, celebrating diversity, and promoting international understanding in an increasingly interconnected world.
  • Jewish Student Union

    Workshop Title: Intersectional Activism of the Jewish Community

    Presenters: Ms. Kasimirowski, Sarah Sonenshine, Shiraz Rothschild, Theo Lopez, Imani Butts

    Description: Activism has been a central part of Jewish identity since the 19th century in Europe, and in the US in the early 20th century. While some causes pertain directly to Jews, many protests and movements Jewish people were involved in were related to broader social and political justice movements. Our workshop will talk about the history of Jewish activism, centered on involvement in the Civil Rights Movements. From here, we’ll go into reflection and discussion on the intersectionality of our own identities, and take this into a broader context of Thacher.
  • Latinos Unidos

    Workshop title: The Two I’s: Indigenous and Imperialism 

    Presenters: Marty Valdez, Alexis Martinez, Elizabeth Dominguez, Jared Amaya

    Description: This workshop will detail the history of colonialism, and now Imperialism, and the effects it has on the Indigenous tribes of Latin America. We will also talk about the current resistance of these tribes today and how the intersectionality of identities plays a role. Since Settler-Colonialism is a worldwide oppressive structure, a main focus will be how Indigenous communities show international global solidarity against colonialism.
  • Multi-Ethnic Student Association

    Title: Rainbow Coalition Building

    Presenters:  Dr. Ali Rahman, Jared Amaya, Nil Egbo, Julia James

    Description: Activists and Civil Rights leaders have known for centuries that the key to the fight against oppression is to build connections with others, find solidarity with those who may look different than you, and to never impose hierarchies on our struggles. In the words of Dr. King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This workshop is about educating ourselves on movements around the globe and in our various communities while also using real world examples of coalition building as a model for our work today. Participants will leave with nuanced historical context of how divisions have periodically been weaponized by the powers at be to muddle the People’s vision for equitable change. Please join us, because just as the former Black Panther leader Fred Hampton said: “We say that we will work with anybody and form a coalition with anybody that has revolution on their mind.”
  • Spectrum

    Workshop Title: Intersectional Identities: Celebrating Black Queer Expression in a Historical, Communal, and Personal Context

    Presenters: Teal Smith, Zibi Laird, Sarah Sonenshine, Evie Stoen

    Our workshop will discuss the importance of intersectional identity within the LGBTQ community. Specifically, we will be celebrating Black queer and trans identity as it is in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy. We will be discussing specific individuals and applying their contributions and ideals to Thacher’s culture. The individuals we are presenting are Marsha P Johnson, Bayard Rustin, and Audre Lorde. We think these individuals will each contribute to a multifaceted conversation about intersectionality, justice, queerness, transness, and Blackness. 

    After presenting, we will ask the members of our workshop to reflect on their own identities and what intersectional lenses they can see themselves and their family through. After taking time to reflect independently we will come back together, allow space if anyone wants to share, and then facilitate a closing conversation. This final conversation will ask the workshop to turn towards organizing that expands beyond each individual’s identity, closing the gap between our presentation and personal reflection. This should line up with discussing different forms of collective expression and liberation that our three significant figures represented and demonstrated in their work. We hope our workshop will pair the importance of internal reckoning and identity work with the direction to take action and leadership beyond the self.
  • Student Disability Union

    Title: Resting to Reflect
    Presenters: Fiona van Otterloo, Margot Edwards, Zander Glickman, Darragh Mahoney, and Sarah Thele

    We will talk briefly about language use on campus and how to support your peers with disabilities. We will specifically discuss ways to respond if a friend decides to reveal that they are disabled. To conclude, we will have some fun activities/crafts to allow students to have something to do as we converse and to find a break from the long day.

  • Thacher Asian Student Society

    Title: Black-Asian Solidarity: Where We've Been and Where We Go from Here
    Presenters: Ms. Nicole Chung, Dr. Russell Spinney, Ms. Sepideah Mohsenian-Rahman, Lily Clemens, Margaret Zhang, Gary Liu, Henry Zhou, Sarah Kwon, Willie Hu 

    Description: Black and Asian Americans have long been pitted against each other, an example of how White supremacy breeds inter-minority hostility over allyship. Where does this narrative of Black-Asian hostility come from in American communities? How do these experiences lie within and also beyond our borders? And how can we work towards a place of solidarity, despite our differences as minority groups with distinct histories? 

    We will walk through some of the history and origins of Black-Asian hostility, specifically highlighting Rodney King and the 1992 riots just down the road in Los Angeles and also thinking about how anti-Blackness and anti-Asianness show up in diasporas more broadly. We will lecture on the distinctive histories these minorities carry in this country and how, despite the differences, these groups have been able to join forces and stand together (e.g. discriminatory treatment of Black and Japanese Americans during WWII, Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X in Harlem, Joe Ishikawa working to desegregate swimming pools in post-war Lincoln, Nebraska) in oft-missed moments of history. Throughout the workshop there are moments for individual/small group reflection, and wrap up with some tool-building for how to form meaningful allyships, and why it matters.

Non-Affinity Group Workshops

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • Collective Dreams for Liberation: Listening and Speaking from the Heart

    Presenter: Narmeen Hashim
    An invitation to join in Narmeen Hashim (Antiracist Educator, Nonprofit Director, Council Facilitator & Artist) in the practice of Council; conscious conversation in circle. During our session we will each have an equal opportunity to listen and speak from the heart, and weave our words, dreams, and stories for collective liberation. Expect a cozy, intentional container with warm tea and high vibration. 
  • DEI in an AI World

    Presenter: Alex Brown, Director of the Boswell Library 

    Description: Generative AI is everywhere all of a sudden, but is it as beneficial as some people think? In this workshop we'll look at some of the ethical issues with AI, with a special focus on bias. Participants will gain a basic understanding of what generative AI is - and is not - capable of and what its implications are for DEI going forward. 

Event Information


STUDENT & VISITORS: 9:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.
FACULTY & STAFF: 9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

The day will feature affinity group and faculty-led workshops, along with special guest keynote speakers.

Special thanks to the Orrick Lecture Series for support of this Symposium. 

9:15 - 9:30 a.m.
Opening Remarks and Land Acknowledgement
Milligan Center for Performing Arts

9:30 - 10:15 a.m.
Opening Keynote: Aimee Allison
Milligan Center for Performing Arts

10:15 - 10:30 a.m.

10:30 - 11:15 a.m.
Affinity Group and Community Workshops
Locations Vary

11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

12:30 - 1:15 p.m.
Understanding Ourselves in Community: A Student-led Workshop
Voit Gymnasium

1:30 - 2:00 p.m. 
Closing Keynote: Dr. David Kyuman Kim
Milligan Center for Performing Arts

2:00 - 2:45 p.m.
Afternoon Treat for Students
Pinholita Coffee Van and Cookies on the Putting Green

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.
Faculty Professional Development
Locations Vary

5:45 p.m.
Commemorative Plaque Dedication for Mr. Balano
Multicultural Center

Thacher DEI Office

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Sepideah Mohsenian-Rahman

    Sepideah Mohsenian-Rahman 

    Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Counselor
  • Photo of Christian Garris

    Christian Garris 

    Associate Director of Admission, Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.