Upper School Students will host 3rd annual “LACO STANDS” Festival on September 10

Residents of Essex County & surrounding areas are invited to attend the FREE outdoor celebration of intersectional solidarity, which will include live poetry readings, activities, an art walk, and a candlelight vigil to commemorate lives lost this year to gun violence. 

On Saturday, September 10, 2022, students of  Lacordaire Academy, a top independent Dominican school, will host the school’s 3rd annual Laco Stands event: a community-wide celebration of intersectional diversity and the arts, with a candlelight vigil to commemorate the lives lost to gun violence throughout America this year. 

  • The event is organized by students of the Laco Voices committee, led by Kaili Martinez-Beasley ‘23, Gabriella Mazal ‘23, Genesis Batista ‘23 and Lucy Sierra ‘23, in partnership with Upper School alumna Isabel Cruz ‘20, who is the creator/originator of Laco Stands. 
  • Past Laco Stands events focused on the Black Lives Matter movement and a peaceful protest against hatred toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 
  • Attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles, signs, masks, and battery operated lights (tea lights, light sticks, etc).

“This event comes from the Upper School students. The ideas are theirs, the planning is theirs, and it’s their passion that comes to fruition,” says Dr. Jennifer Zinman, Lacordaire’s Director of Inclusivity. “Lacordaire is a place where we want to hear your voice and we want to help you make your voice heard in the broader world.”

Laco Stands began in 2020, when students of the Academy’s all-girls Upper School, in response to the death of George Floyd and the growing racial unrest in our country, wanted to organize a school-wide peaceful protest. “Every event has a different main focus,” says Isabel Cruz ‘20, who is the creator/originator of Laco Stands. “This year we want to celebrate our Laco diversity, because we are a very diverse community.” 

Lacordaire’s mission is rooted in the belief that diversity should be cherished as a critical component to a peaceful and vibrant society. The Academy’s sponsors, the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, believe that we must examine the root causes of injustice and our own complicity as individuals, and work to effect systemic change. Students are encouraged to act as global citizens, actively engaging with the world-at-large. 

Approximately one third of the Upper School student body participates in the Laco Voices club. “It’s about making sure that all people, of all races and marginalized genders, can have their voices heard and can thrive,” says Cruz. “It’s important to keep this [event] going, specifically for the high school girls and every student at Lacordaire.”