Alphabet Rockers Visit: Helping Heal What Divides Us
This month the Diversity & Inclusion Committee organized a visit to the Star Room by Stefanie of the Alphabet Rockers. The Alphabet Rockers is a Grammy-winning group that works to shape a more equitable world through hip hop.
The Alphabet Rockers were founded by Kaitlin McGraw (she/her) and Tommy Shepherd (he/him/they). “Our families need content that is healing, that reflects who we are and empowers us – that embraces Black liberation, Queer liberation, Indigenous rights, immigrant rights, and intersectionality. Alphabet Rockers curates this content with the community, centering children’s voices. We amplify authentic stories and interrupt the patterns that got us here.”
“Our families need content that is healing, that reflects who we are and empowers us…”The Alphabet Rockers
In the Star Room, Stefanie used dance, rhythm and poses to teach how we can use our bodies as symbols and allies for social justice. She started with the fist, high in the air. “In this pose, you are powerful”, Stefanie said. She explained that we could use our fists as gentle rocks for making connections with our friends and to stand up for people. She also encouraged all members of the Star Room to look at their rocks (fists) and to look closely at their skin – to really notice how amazing and unique their skin was. “Isn’t that so cool?” she asked as she encouraged looking at a classmate’s skin to notice how magnificent and different we all are.
Dancing ensued and the music and lyrics amplified her messages of using our expression to stand up, be ourselves and to shine. “You can spread your shine!” The class took turns sending shine to their friends by making eye contact and sending shine energy through sweeping hand motions. “Maybe something shady happens today – see if you can shake off that shade and turn it into shine”. She explained it was the students’ responsibility to spread that shine via kind words, giving compliments and including others.
Watching the performance unfold for the Star Room, I was confirmed in the magic that led my family to Synergy. We are new to the school this year (our son Jude is in the Sun Room), but we knew it was the place for us when we first toured a few years ago. “Keeping a Safe Space” truly came to life as I watched the Star Room learn from Stefanie. A safe space is also what I feel from the teachers, the collaboration, the agreements and the energy within the halls of the building each time I enter.
Watching the performance, feeling in reverence for Synergy, I thought of how much I longed for a safe space as a child and young adult; I moved to San Francisco in search of that safe space. I thought of all of the beautiful people I’ve known throughout my life that needed a safe space too, but only found refuge in between harsh or toxic institutions and communities because they were people of color or members of the LGBTQ community or neurodiverse.
And there in front of me was Stefanie and the Star Room, moving and singing to make our world a safe space. They were invited by a school that has this as their mission. And this was a school my son attends and is one of which my family is a part.
My parents’ synopsis of Synergy after Grandparents’ Day was “we can tell how much all of the teachers care”. They spent less than two hours on school grounds and they felt it because the shine is palpable; it is the heartbeat of the safe space of Synergy. To say I am grateful is an understatement.
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