Jackson Katz, a renowned scholar and activist in the areas of gender equality and violence prevention, visited Crossroads School this month for a special parent education evening
as well as a daytime presentation for students.
Through a presentation titled “Taking It Personally: Why Gender Violence Is an Issue for Men,” Katz identified problems and offered solutions to end cycles of violence that are harmful to adults and children of all genders.
The event exemplified Crossroads’ commitment to equity and justice within and beyond the classroom. Social responsibility is embedded in educational programming at all three School divisions, and students are engaged in community service and activism efforts on numerous local, national and international issues.
Ahead of his evening engagement with parents in the Community Room, Katz gave a presentation to students during the school day.
“It’s not just about intervening at the point of attack; it’s about thinking about yourself more broadly as a human being who is in communities and has a responsibility to yourself and to others,” Katz said. “If we’re going to make it as a species, we’re going to need a whole lot more gender equality.”
Students said they were inspired by Katz’s presentation and felt compelled to effect change in their own communities.
“It was amazing,” sophomore Joe Blaugrund said. “It was really powerful and insightful. It reinforced a lot of the things I already knew, but it also taught me a lot about good things to do as a student.”
Crossroads senior Grace Halpern, who introduced Katz at the assembly, recently spearheaded discussions on campus about elements of the School dress code.
“He really spoke to the importance of being informed and standing up for what you believe in,” she said. “Throughout my time at Crossroads, every single class has had an aspect of being an informed person and what to do with that knowledge. ... I am incredibly grateful for Crossroads’ encouragement of the activist within me.”
The Life Skills department capitalized on Katz’s appearance by facilitating Council discussions and screening documentaries in which Katz is featured.
“We were very excited to host Jackson Katz,” Life Skills teacher Sheila Bloch said. “He is one of the leading authorities on domestic violence, and the positive spin he puts on his lectures is about good leadership.”
Katz, a respected educator and author, is a frequent lecturer about matters relating to gender and violence, delivering a widely circulated TED Talk
on these subjects in 2012.
In 1993 he co-founded Mentors in Violence Prevention, an influential sexual assault and relationship abuse prevention program for educational institutions, businesses, sports teams and the military.