In early December, seven faculty members and four students traveled to Seattle, Washington, to attend the NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC) & Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC).
Juniors Hailey Black and Cori McBean and sophomores Cailen Graham and John Bruton spent three days at SDLC building around the theme of "1954. With All Deliberate Speed. 2019. ; Integrating Schools, Minds and Hearts with the Fierce Urgency of Now." The EHS students were part of a total of 1,600 independent students from around the country who took part in activities such as: cross-cultural communication techniques, social justice practice through the arts, as well as the foundation of ally-ship and networking principles. In addition to large group session, SDLC "family groups" and "home groups" were assembled to allow for dialogue and personal sharing in smaller settings. Sophomore John Bruton says, "This conference was better than I thought it was going to be. It was transformative!"
While the students took part in SDLC, faculty members Amira Kamal, Isaiah Coleman, Emily Barron, Wayne Jones, Ayesha Spooner, and Neil Fullarton were participating in the PoCC conference, which addressed the theme of "1619. Before. Beyond. 2019." Participants were enthralled during the opening session by renowned speaker Dr. Joy Degruy. Dr. Degruy's speech around history and social justice gave the conference the needed verve to get the day started. Attendees could choose from a variety of 75-minute courses. A sample of the discussions include: Are We Doing Liberation Work or Just Working Self Preservation?, Disrupting the System from Within, Strategic Design for Equity & Inclusion, Colorism in the LatinX Community, and Your Path: A Journey Defined Through Six-Word Stories.
Participants sat for three different sessions per day, as well general electives. Newly appointed EHS Director of Community and Inclusion Wayne Jones says, "As much as I love the information that I got; I cherish the time I got with people like me who work in Independent Schools. Those relationships that I etched at PoCC will help me be better at aiding our community through the process of understanding others through their individual lenses."
The EHS group looks forward to dissecting, discussing, and implementing some of the new knowledge they obtained. Conferences like these fuel the energy and enthusiastic attitude to continue in the journey of positive change for all the EHS community.