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Cathy Renna

While it looked different than prior years, the Upper School honored Ally Week, hosted by the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), in a mostly virtual format. Reflecting the importance of acceptance and understanding now more than ever, GSA President Phoebe Williams ‘22 shared the history of Ally Week and said, “The best thing for allies to do is to ask questions, make an effort to educate themselves, and listen to LGBTQ+ voices.” The community welcomed Cathy Renna who shared her work with GLAAD and the National LGBTQ Task Force, as well as her involvement in the Matthew Shepard case back in 1998. Her visit prompted many people to ask questions and wonder what they could do to better support the LGBTQ+ community. More issues related to the LGBTQ+ experience and activism were explored on Community Day (held the same week) in the film, How to Survive a Plague, which chronicles the demand for proper attention to be given to the fight against AIDS. 

This year’s spring play will be the Laramie Project, set to premiere in MKA’s amphitheater the weekend of May 13. The play chronicles the reaction to the murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming and was originally scheduled to air last spring, but the pandemic forced a postponement. Cathy Renna has been instrumental in helping students and faculty prepare for the production both last year and this spring.
An Ally Pledge of support, a staple of the week, was shared with the Upper School, but Williams reminded the school that allyship isn’t just signing the pledge: it’s upholding everything that the pledge stands for in day-to-day life, and it’s the little things that truly make a difference. Events and opportunities like this very important week lead to progress and a more inclusive community.