The Middle School Social Justice Retreat is an opportunity for middle school students to learn and reflect about their identities, their interactions within a diverse society, and their role in the creation of a more just, safe, and accessible world for all.

2024 Social Justice Retreat
Friday, January 26, 2024
8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

This year’s theme, Create THE Future, highlights the power of the present moment in the work of social justice, and how our actions (or inactions) gradually shape the future of communities and society. Create THE Future calls middle schoolers to engage their curiosity, embrace compassion, and seek a deeper understanding of the realities that continue to uphold exclusion, injustice, and inequitable access to wellbeing, opportunity, and resources for so many. Create THE Future is about how deeper learning and the choices of NOW can bring us closer to a future where inclusion and human rights are equally accessible to everyone.

2024 Schedule

Welcome + Introduction, GYM A

Keynote Speaker: The Bridge Project, CJ SUITT & Kane Smego
Poets CJ Suitt and Kane Smego explore what it means to nurture cross-cultural relationships in this captivating performance and workshop

Overview & transition to sessions

Session 1: Workshops

Break + Snack

Session 2: Workshops

Session 3: Workshops

Lunch + Recess (same as rest of MS)

Design + Create Projects

Reflective Closing


Session 1: 9:10-9:55am
Session 2 10:15- 11:00 am
Session 3 11:05-11:50am

The Bridge Project: Finding Connection in a Time of Division
: Roger’s Room, 10:15 & 11:05 sessions  
Facilitator: Kane Smego, CJ SUITT
New Basics: Collaboration, Empathy, Collaboration, Creative Problem-Solving

We all have a story to tell, what’s yours? Drawing on the concept of intersectionality and harnessing the power of poetry, this workshop with spoken word artists Kane Smego & CJ SUITT will inspire you to start thinking about giving voice to your own story, and honoring everyone’s stories.

Using Illustration and Joy to Confront the Challenges of Immigration
: S1
Facilitator: Bren Bataclan
New Basics: Empathy

Filipino-American artist, world-traveler, and creator of the street art project Project Smile, Bren Bataclan, brings his energy back to Beaver as he takes on the healing properties of joy and art. Hear about the challenges and joys of his involuntary immigration story, reflect on how our decisions give shape to our individual and collective futures, and while at it, take home new drawing skills.

Embracing Identity Through Creation
Location: 103
Facilitator: Katiana Rodriguez
New Basics: Empathy

Artist Katiana Rodriguez illustrates pieces that tackle everything from her ancestry to her experiences growing up in New York City. She is passionate about LGBTQ+ identity, spirituality, mental health, and body positivity.  Her sessions will explore the emotional impact of misconceptions related to identity and diversity, how our identities influence one another, and will bring focus to  how we as creators can use art and design to make an impression on those around us.

The Art of Kindness
Location: D Level
Facilitator: Vita & Ethan Murrow
New Basics: Empathy, Creative Problem-Solving, Collaboration

These interactive sessions with Vita and Ethan Murrow, award-nominated creators of the short film “Dust” and picture books “The Whale” and “Zero Local,”  will center on how change makers use film, photography, writing, collaboration, and education for positive social change. Hear about their latest project, and how to shape a better future for all putting into action your passion and talents. Take part in a performance activity where you and your friends will get to stage existing works of art. 

Exploring cancel culture’s impact on individuals and society
Location:  Board Room
Facilitator: Perry Eaton, Bianca Weiland and Luke James
New Basics: Tech & Media Literacy

Join our Beaver journalism and marketing experts, Perry Eaton, Bianca Weiland, and Luke James to reflect and discuss what happens when people disagree, or when we completely disregard other people’s perspectives. How do we determine what to do when one of our peers intentionally or unintentionally does something problematic? Do we cancel, or do we find a way to counsel and educate?

Sumi Ink Club
Location: Room 34
Facilitator: Mx. Duffy
New Basics: Creative Problem-Solving, Collaboration

Beaver US art teacher Mx. Duffy and her students will help participants explore the stories of disruptors and change makers in order to understand the role inclusion plays in our daily lives. Themes related to inclusive actions and behaviors will be demonstrated through art. Students will take a look at visuals, and using black ink and brushes they will talk, paint, and create a Sumi Ink mural. The Sumi Ink Club was established in 2005 by artists Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck, the club produces work cooperatively in open-to-the-public meetings.

Design + Create Sessions

 12:35- 1:45PM

THE BRIDGE PROJECT: Spoken Word, Hip Hop
Create your own story. 
Location: Roger’s Rooom
Facilitator: Kane Smego & CJ SUITT

EMBRACING IDENTITY THROUGH CREATION: Creating zines to represent and embrace our identities
Location: Design Level (opposite Grace Hopper)
Facilitator: Katiana Rodriguez

ANIMATION & JOY: Making illustrated personal life maps & postcards to spread joy
Location: S1
Facilitator: Bren Bataclan

THE ART OF KINDNESS: Performance and giving life to art for social change
Location: Design Level (Grace Hopper side)
Facilitator: Vita and Ethan Murrow

SUMI INK CLUB: Mural-making for inclusion and belonging
Location: Green Gym
Facilitator: Mx. Duffy