Yale professor speaks at MLK Day celebration

January 20, 2020

Cheshire Academy continued its annual tradition of honoring Martin Luther King Jr. by holding a schoolwide assembly on Jan. 20 in the Gideon Welles Dining Hall.


This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Maysa Akbar, a board-certified adolescent and child clinical psychologist, and assistant clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center. Akbar spoke about King’s upbringing, his struggle with depression and anxiety due to the racial tensions he faced throughout his life, and how he rose to become the most prominent figure of the civil rights movement.


Akbar’s clinical specialty is early childhood trauma with a specific focus on urban and culturally diverse children, adolescents, and families. She is also the developer of the Urban Trauma framework, which is used for understanding the impact of societal oppression on people of color.


PHOTO GALLERY: More photos from Cheshire Academy’s MLK Day celebration


IN THE NEWS: Read the article in the Cheshire Herald 


Aleesha Grier-Rogers ’90, reflected on her senior year at Cheshire Academy, when her classmates held a peaceful sit-in protest on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a way to show the administration they wanted to better honor King, which served as the catalyst for the annual event on campus. Since then, Cheshire Academy has used the federal holiday to invite distinguished guests and speakers to campus, and hold day-long discussions and events in honor of King.


Grier-Rogers, who serves as the school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion coordinator, organized this year’s events alongside Alison Bass-Ricco, English teacher and faculty liaison for diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Singer and songwriter Lytasha Blackwell, who works as a motivator and social justice advocate, shared a few poems and songs prior to Akbar’s presentation.


Following the schoolwide assembly, students, faculty, and staff attended two workshops, which ranged from “Emotional Health and Regulation” and “Everyone’s Dream” to “Women in Leadership” and “The Service Learning Lifestyle.”