The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

Dylan Marron’s Sunday Chapel sparks important conversation about empathy in the digital age

Ken Rosenfeld
Dylan Marron speaks to the Webb community in the October Sunday Chapel.

“You have bad teeth and have no masculinity p*ssy boi,” tweeted someone who was outraged by Sunday’s chapel speaker Dylan Marron. Through sharing his personal experience with hate comments and the social media’s power of creating misunderstandings, Mr. Marron’s Sunday Chapel talk explored how to foster respectful online discussions and avoid hateful conversations. 

On the evening of Sunday, October 11th, Marron opened conversations about the art of respectful discussions between people with conflicting opinions through an engaging presentation in a school-wide webinar. His award-winning podcast, ‘Conversations with People that Hate Me, provides interesting examples of how peaceful conversations can help create mutual understanding for polarized sides of contentious issues.  

“I feel like [Dylan Marron] made the Webinar format work really well,” said Fiona Jiang (‘22). “Despite not being able to see our responses and faces, he gave a really good talk. He was funny and engaging but also touched on deep and thoughtful topics.” 

Dylan Marron referenced a podcast episode where he invited Emma Sulkowitz, a rape survivor and activist, and Benjamin, who had posted a comment to Emma, stating, “you are a liar.” Their conversation helped Benjamin to understand Emma’s perspective.  

Initially, Benjamin believed that she was a liar because of the lack of proof.  

However, as Mr. Marron moderated conversations that allow the guests to be vulnerable and honest, Benjamin was able to rethink his position by the end of the podcast. I apologize. (..) I know it might sound ignorant to say, but it made me think about it in ways I didn’t even know to think about it.”  

Unlike usual Sunday Chapel talks, where boarding students sit in the Vivian Webb Chapel in school uniforms along with faculty members, Mr. Marron gave his talk in a Webinar format on Zoom. Despite the changes, the talk continued old traditions of Sunday Chapel, such as musical performance from Webb students. Not only did it connect the community, it also sparked important conversations about equity, diversity, and empathy, which students and faculty value tremendously. 

“Before COVID, when we were all back on campus, students walked up to chapel accompanied by the chapel bell rings,” said Nina Luo (‘22), member of the Chapel Council and opening speaker for this Sunday Chapel. “Although we don’t have a bell for our Zoom Sunday chapels, we still have the tradition of student music performances before the speaker presentation. And like before, one or two chapel council members usually volunteer to introduce the speaker. Overall, I think that although the format has changed, the content and the significance of Sunday chapel has remained consistent. 

Mr. Marron’s talk aligns with Webb’s dedication to fighting racism and inequality. The themes of the talk are extensions of the Webb community read that fosters an inclusive and antiracist school environment as well as Rosetta Lees lectures on courageous and open conversations 

“Mr. Dylan Marron’s talk was interesting: it’s interactive that most of our students resonate with his topic of internet hate speech,” said Roy Zhang (‘22), member of the Chapel Council. We received questions regarding various topics, including opposing political views, psychology, gender self-identification, et cetera. The responsibility of the chapel council was to bring this resource to our community and spark critical thinking among us.” 

Thanks to the great resources at Webb, students are not only learning to excel in the academics and athletics, but are also taking responsibilities as proactive citizens, constantly challenging themselves to empathize with others and understand differences. 

“I really think that it is so good that Webb is having a conversation about these things,” Eleanor Hong (‘24) said. “Mr. Marron’s advice was very helpful and reminded me that everyone is human, and we all get hurt.” 

After the speech, Dylan Marron left the floor open for student questions in the chat box. Many students, including Katie Arzate (‘23) and Eleanor, proposed new and fresh insights on the discussion. For example, Eleanor asked about what to do when religious beliefs contradict a person’s right to exist and be human.  

“We all have our own experiences and ideologies, and when people talk directly to others, it makes most realize that online is not just a screen,” Eleanor said. “It’s a living, evolving network of people, who all feel and live and experience life in different ways. So be open minded, and don’t forget that we are all human.” 

After the Sunday Chapel, many students gathered at a different Zoom meeting to further the conversations with Mr. Marron.  

With the exacerbating political polarization and growing distrust of social media platforms, Mr. Marron’s talk offered hope and space for changes. Using personal successes as examples, Mr. Marron shared that in the current digital age, while social media might not be the best outlet for civic discourse, the double-sided sword can also become a great space for actively engaging with people of different backgrounds and bridging ideological differences if used mindfully. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Sunny Yu, Editor-in-Chief
Sunny Yu (‘22) is a prime example of the protagonist personality. As a natural leader, she is active, thoughtful, caring, and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the WCC, a member of the Chapel Council, the captain of the varsity cross-country team, and a founding member of Webb’s Breakfast literary magazine. Sunny is also vocal and passionate about the enforcement of social justice and representation of marginalized groups: at the WCC, she utilizes journalism as a tool to shed light on many controversial issues, never shying away from the ability to make a lasting impact. During the weekends, you can often find her on a run to “The Spot,” a smoothie shop, playing soccer on Chandler, and occasionally annoying the library staff for borrowing too many books, such as her favorite, Waiting for the Barbarians, a wonderful allegory on human relationships. As a protagonist, she finds joy in guiding young journalists to grow into their best selves. This year, Sunny hopes that the WCC can continue covering important topics and spark conversations while bringing people laughter and keeping them informed. Favorite song: "Sunflower Feelings" by Kuzu Mellow
Vivien Xi, Chief Copy Editor
Vivien Xi (‘21) is a positive and energetic soul from Shanghai, China. This year, she has taken on the role of Chief Copy Editor for the Webb Canyon Chronicle. She is perfect for the position because she is motivated, responsible, organized, and loves helping others. Over the summer, she interned at multiple financial firms and worked at a restaurant. Vivien’s spirit animal is a bee, because they are always working diligently and socializing with others. Vivien's busy bee work ethic will serve her well working on the WCC team and in her near future, especially since she wants to study economics and media. She enjoys playing tennis, eating sushi, and hanging out with friends and family. She wishes to make a positive impact in life, big or small. Vivien has gained a confident voice from working with the Webb Canyon Chronicle. This year, she plans to use her voice and platform on the WCC to speak out about healthcare systems around the world and how COVID-19 has impacted those systems.   
Cathy Wang, Editor-in-Chief
Cathy Wang (‘22), an international boarding student from Shanghai, returns to Webb this year not only as the Editor-in-Chief for the WCC- but also as a dorm prefect and admissions fellow. She is excited to be back on campus, taking new classes and reconnecting with the Webb community. So far, Cathy’s favorite course that she has taken at Webb has been Advanced Studies Fascism with Ms. Fisher, which she enjoyed because of how the course related to current issues that she cares about, such as education and gender inequality. These are just a few of the topics that Cathy hopes to shed some more light on, both via the WCC and in person. Outside of classes, Cathy enjoys playing badminton and tennis, reading Latin literature or magical realism, and taking occasional trips to the Claremont Village. Additionally, you might also find her sipping her daily coffee or eating any kind of Japanese food. As the world slowly comes back from the pandemic and Webb shifts to in-person learning, Cathy hopes for the WCC to serve as a facilitator for the Webb community in fostering much-needed connections between people. Favorite song: "I Lost A Friend" by Finneas
Stephen Li, Chief Editor of Media
Stephen Li (‘21) is the Chief Editor of Media this year for the Webb Canyon Chronicle. He only started photography recreationally four years ago, but this skill has helped him contribute to the WCC through improving the quality of photos, an important yet often overlooked aspect of any publication. As the captain of the varsity football team, it’s no surprise that Stephens favorite spot on campus is the football field. Because of this passion, one of his many goals is to continue playing football in college, as he wants to increase Asian representation in American sports. This year, Stephen wants to increase the impact the Webb Canyon Chronicle has on the community through gaining more readers, and, as a peer advisor, he wants to continue bringing people together especially in the midst of a pandemic. Stephen’s proven talent for rallying the morale of his teammates and peers is a skill that makes him an irreplaceable member of the WCC team. 
Nancy Lin, Editor-In-Chief
Passionate, open-minded, and ambitious are three words that describe Nancy Lin (‘23), and with these characteristics, she is ready to lead The Webb Canyon Chronicle as the Editor-in-Chief.  Nancy is a very involved student at The Webb Schools, showcasing her strong leadership skills as vice student body president, a source of her strong leadership skills. Nancy was first born in Shanghai, China but then later moved to Vancouver, Canada where she spends most of her time away from Webb. Nancy spends her free time in many different ways: listening to a variety of music genres, practicing golf, playing the piano, baking, and rewatching for the billionth time, The Notebook. On the days she spends at home, Nancy makes sure to visit her family, spend time with friends, and most importantly, see her dog Yuanbao!  Although she likes her sweets, like chocolate, she also enjoys a nice Italian or Korean dinner. She stays up to date on school events and is very passionate about international news and global affairs. This year, Nancy is ambitious to hit the ground running as a new Head Editor, excited to publish stories about Webb and the world beyond.   Favorite song: "Runaway" by Kanye West
Heloise Robertson, Chief Copy Editor
Delightful and entertaining Heloise Robertson (‘23) is a cherished personality at Webb for her friendly face and hilarious jokes. Our new Chief Copy Editor is a secretly talented chef, a caring camp counselor, an avid fan of horror literature, and the Webb Canyon Chronicle’s fastest editor. She has learned the importance of teamwork and empathy through participating in basketball and cross country. If you need a hand, hers is out to pick you up. Her personal goals this year are to keep a healthy self-care routine, starting with making her bed every morning before school. Heloise’s vision board for journalism includes making sure every article is timely, ensuring that she spots every grammar mistake, and including the student body in the publication better. Knock on this Head Editor’s Jameson dorm room, and you’ll find her eating sushi, watching Despicable Me, and lying on her stuffed elephant.  “This Charming Man” by The Smiths 

Comments (0)

All Webb Canyon Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *