Mission Dolores Academy | The education of tomorrow rooted in tradition.

Middle School Language and Harassment Symposium

January 28, 2019

“It’s more important to be kind, than right”


MDA is proud of its ongoing partnership with the Human Rights Commission of San Francisco (HRC), which is now in its second year. On January 25th, in conjunction with the San Francisco Police Department, the HRC hosted a Language and Harassment Symposium for all Sixth through Eighth Grade students.

In May of 2018, a small, 15-student cohort from MDA went to City Hall to participate in a similar meeting, and after observing the transformative outcomes of this in the way that so many of the attendees related to one another and their schoolmates, our Principal Ms. Meredith Essalat, asked the HRC and the SFPD to replicate it on a larger scale, targeting all of our Middle School students. The aim of the day was to get students to reflect on their behavior and language used with one another, and its impact on others, and their own education and future goals.


Parents were also invited to attend to observe.

Our panel for the symposium included some inspirational mentors:

  • Veronica Garcia - Policy Analyst with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission
  • Derick Brown - Senior Advisor for the San Francisco Policy Department
  • Mikail Ali - SFDP Deputy Chief
  • Sondra Reynolds - SFPD Sargeant
  • Karl Ma - SFPD Officer
  • Raphael Rockwell - SFPD Officer
  • Jabari Jackson - SFPD Officer


An important message imparted on our students was that our actions have consequences, and that they can be positive. That our Middle School students are leaders are leaders within the MDA community, and that they have a responsibility to provide our younger students with a positive role model. In addition, when it comes to dealing with others, it’s more important to be kind, than to be right.

Following group discussion, panel presentations and a Q&A session, the symposium ended with our students signing and reading our aloud together the following pledge:


“As both a member of the Mission Dolores Academy family and a global citizen, I pledge to act with integrity. I seek to use language to inspire confidence in others, celebrating the qualities and characteristics that make us unique. I strive to find unity in differences, recognizing the humanity in each and every person.


My body is a vessel for peace, compassion, and empathy. I will show respect to the personal space and physical being of my friends, family, classmates, and all with whom I come in contact. I will act with responsibility and self control, making it my priority to help others to feel safe and secure, both physically and emotionally, in my presence.


I am MDA; I am chosen by God; I am powerful and smart; I will respect the rights of others; and, I will succeed.


I am MDA”


A huge thank you to all of our incredible speakers for taking the time out of their busy schedules to inspire and motivate our MDA community.


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