The Thanksgiving holiday often inspires reflection, particularly around the things for which we are grateful. One thing I am grateful for is our community—our students, families, alumni, and neighbors.
Last week, we were fortunate to have a Germantown neighbor, Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, join us in the Friends Free Library to give a Lunchtime Chat lecture. Dr. Asante is a distinguished scholar and author, the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity, and co-founder of the Molefi Kete Asante Institute, a library and think tank located just one block from Main Campus.
Dr. Asante shared myths and misconceptions that continue to have a profound impact on African people. He also shared many truths, including ideas and beliefs that speak to the depth and influence of African culture and history. He spoke about the African belief that the quality of one’s character is most fundamental to living a moral and ethical life. He explained that character—good character—is the pattern of behavior that brings about harmony and cooperation in society, and is the form and manner in which one shares their voice.
As educators, we seek to create opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of self and identity, and we examine how the past has contributed to the present. Dr. Asante reminded us that African culture and tradition continues to influence all of us, and his words inspired deep reflection on the abundant ways our children express good character. Every day we see our students stand up for peace, build and support the community, and care for others and the earth—from first-graders exploring ways to help homeless families to our Upper Schoolers volunteering to serve food at Holsey Temple.
I hope that you join me in taking time to give thanks to people like Dr. Asante, our faculty and staff, GFS families, and our neighbors, who help instill in our students the sense of character that makes our community special. I also wish you a joyful break full of wonderful food, friends, and family.