Change Makers

Desmond Tutu - Turning Point

Desmond Tutu is a South Africa Anglican cleric and activist who throughout his career has been instrumental in anti-apartheid and human rights activism, both in South Africa and globally. He has worked tirelessly through his life to "create a democratic and just society without racial divisions.” Tutu worked alongside Nelson Mandela to end apartheid, and his international activism and leadership earned him a Nobel Peace Prize, brought the anti-apartheid movement to the global stage, and ultimately brought about the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1993. The following year, Tutu established and chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission where atrocities of the apartheid era were investigated with a focus on restorative justice and healing. Tutu did not rest on his laurels after the fall of apartheid, and has spent the last twenty years working globally on human rights campaigns. He is a tireless worker for the dignity and equality of all people, and a true change maker.

The theme for the 2020-2021 school year is Turning Point. Turning points can be global or personal in scale, and encapsulate moments of sudden change, new direction, and unexpected opportunity. The United States is in the midst of several turning points, and our change maker selection reflected intentionally on this powerful and critical moment in our nation's history. Desmond Tutu used his elevated voice to work to end apartheid in South Africa - a major turning point in that country’s history that continues to have an impact. With Desmond Tutu as the 2020-2021 change maker, the Synapse community has the opportunity to reflect on the anti-apartheid movement and make purposeful understanding and action for the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as look for new direction and unexpected opportunity in our daily lives during this unpredictable time.

formal portrait of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wearing her justice robes and collar

Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Intersection 

The Synapse school-wide curriculum theme for the 2019-20 school year was Intersection. This theme can be interpreted broadly, and we worked hard to create a definition that encompasses many possibilities. We know that change makers will not only encounter roadblocks and need to make hard decisions are crossroads, but also forge relationships and bring people together. With that in mind, our community definition is Intersection: Seeking Connections and Creating New Paths

After receiving recommendations from parents, staff, and students, Synapse faculty chose Ruth Bader Ginsburg to represent this annual theme. Well known as the second female Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's journey is a prime example of the intersections of law, social justice, and gender equality, and she is a role model for our EQ competencies and Synapse Learning Outcomes.