Speakers at last Friday’s Assembly addressed the recent rash of racial violence around the country, turning it into a lesson on tolerance and diversity.

It started off with an opening statement from Elena Gosalvez-Blanco, head of the PEA summer program, who commented on the horror of the Dallas shootings and the killings of African-Americans and specified the zero-tolerance policy for racism at summer school.

Russell Witherspoon then discussed the “extraordinary violent act” of the murders, emphasizing that society has lost its instinct for kindness. Indeed, as he explained, each and every one of the students should practice kindness at Summer School in order to extend it at home. Being kind starts with the little things: from clearing plates at the dining hall to waving at a driver when crossing the street.

“It changes the quality of a person’s day,” Mr. Witherspoon said.”‘The more kindness we deliver to each other, the more the place where we are feels welcoming.”

Later on, he talked about the cultural differences that make the 775 students at Exeter Summer diverse. He explained that even though it is fine to have a group of friends who have similar backgrounds to your own and who speak the same languages as you, it is important to reach out to other people and to “draw them into your group of friends.”

Also, although “a summer romance is wonderful,” he said, “people who have romantic intentions” should remember to “use their relationship to invite others in.” By understanding each other’s cultures, students are able to grow, to “broaden their horizons” and this is one of the goals of Summer School.

A great way to make friends on campus, he said, is “doing something courageous and risky: saying hello.” He said students tend to forget this as they are captivated by the latest picture on their Instagram feed.

Subsequently, Viviana Santos reassuringly informed the students that they should not hesitate to go see her if feeling challenged by the people or classes here, if they have any kind of adaptation issue or if experiencing unsettling events. Her office is located on the 2nd Floor of the Academy Building.

Afterwards, Danielle Lucero announced to the student body that, as a Native American from a tribe in New Mexico, she is a resource for Native American students. Furthermore, she pointed out that she will be organizing weekly meetings that all students can attend to learn about indigenous tribes in the United States.

Finally, it was announced that the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) is open to everyone, regardless of their sexuality and the gender they identify with, and  holds meetings every Sunday night at 6 PM in the basement of the Academy Center.