Mariela Vazquez

Opening Convocation Remarks

Mariela Vazquez ’21 – Head of Diversity

Hello Porter’s family. My name is Mariela Vazquez and I’m so excited to share this new school year with you all as Head of Diversity. Collectively, we have had a transformational year thus far, and we carry that within all of us very differently.

I would like to start by sharing a passage from Thich Nhat Hanh’s “How To Love.” 

“If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour a handful of salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform.”

I invite you to give thought to the times in these past few months that you have felt lost. The times that you have felt stifled, shut down and closed in. That is the handful of salt. If we take the time to reflect on when the privileges of our daily lives were challenged or taken away, we can expand our capacity to understand suffering in others. Let us use these reflections to help us become better community members. Let us be informed, bold, resourceful and ethical global citizens. That makes the difference between a cup of water and a river.

In a message to the community earlier this summer, I asked all of you to consider the ways that you stay silent in the face of intolerance, microaggressions, and injustice; I asked for you to think about ways that you can do better for your Black peers and other peers of color. Most importantly, to consider the legacy you will leave in Farmington; will you be complicit in injustice or will you hold yourselves accountable to actively being anti-racist members of society?

Now it is time to create your legacy. 2020 is going in the books either way. 

This summer, we went through endless preparation and planning to ensure that we can be in community with each other during the ongoing global pandemic. We quarantined individually before campus so that we could come together in good health and be ready to start the year safely. 

What would our community look like if we shared that same level of regard for creating an equitable and inclusive environment? What if we committed to dismantling systems of oppression in the same way that we have promised to share our group responsibility of preventing the spread of Covid-19. 

This year, I will work with you to combat injustice. I will stand by you, I will stand for you, and at times I might have to sit with you as we work to process important things about ourselves and each other. 

I would like to share three of my personal goals with you : 

One, I will do my best to support the community members in the exploration of their own identities. Two, I will stand with my community members in times of injustice so that they feel seen and heard. And three, I will hold you all accountable for being allies actively. I am confident that with the support of my community, we can accomplish these things together.

Thank you for joining me on this journey and for leaving a legacy we can be proud of.

Mariela Vazquez
Mariela Vazquez – Head of Diversity