Mrs. Silvia Davis
Head of the upper school
Q.– What is the significance of Black History month to you?
A. – It's hard to really put into words the significance of Black History Month. In truth, there are millions of reasons why. At a basic level, I think that as humans the need for connection is paramount. Black History Month provides a dedicated space and time to allow Black Americans to connect through the sharing of our culture and history. It is important to recognize that having a month to focus on Black history, doesn't mean that we ignore it for eleven other months. Constantly engaging with history is crucial to providing context for the present. As a child, Black History Month was focused on a dozen or so "Famous Black Americans" and on the whole they were only in one way or another connected to slavery or civil rights. Yes, sitting in the discomfort of that part of American history is crucial to preventing their recurrence, but looking back, I think about how empowering and illuminating further celebration and acknowledgement of Black Americans who contributed in the development of our society and accomplished significant achievements could have been for me, and other little girls who look(ed) like me.
Q.– Who inspires you in the Black community? And why? Or what about them inspires you?
A. –Emmanuel Acho. His series and subsequent book, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, is truly inspiring. Inspiring is actually an understatement. I read an article where he discusses his inspiration for this work. Acho shares that his experience as a student in a predominantly white, independent school in Texas gave him the social tools to help bridge the racial divide. Later in life, post-football career, he recognized that his platform and celebrity provided him the space to have a broad reach and the hopes that his breadth would allow others to have conversations of depth. Depth is the real change agent. Discussions of race are uncomfortable for a myriad of reasons, yet, discomfort doesn't make complex topics disappear. I admire Emmanuel Acho's courage to create the space to have an honest, direct conversation, as I truly believe, conversations rather than isolating ourselves is the path to a healed nation.
Q.– What would you like to share about yourself?
A. –Well, that's a tough one. Talking about myself is not really something I love to do. Talking itself, I'm sure, is not a secret that I do, in fact, enjoy. I have a pretty complex heritage with my mother's family being Brazilian and Italian and my father's family is German and Irish. All-in-all, I had a happy childhood and have a very close family. My parents instilled in me one important value (well, more than one, but this one was paramount): be proud of who you are. Each day I intend to carry myself with confidence, empathy and grace, and if there is anything I hope to impart to others, it is that. Confidence is different from arrogance; be proud of who you are.