Léman Students Chosen to Attend NAIS People of Color Conference and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference
December 11, 2020
Every year in a different location throughout the US, NAIS hosts the People of Color Conference and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Léman sent six dynamic students (Tori Edwards, Nia Lwanga, Ameera Omar, Amelia Thompson, Sanaa Kimathi-Walker, and Genesis Williams-McMillan) to the conference this year along with Paschell Sutton, US Learning Specialist and Lakiya Burrell our DEI Coordinator and this year’s SDLC chaperone. Both conferences were a week-long, November 30-December 4th. They each provided unique opportunities for participants to engage in rich dialogue with students from different schools, educators of many disciplines, and well-renowned DEIJ practitioners. Students developed cross-cultural communication skills, designed effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learned the foundations of allyship and networking principles. Educators, too, were provided a safe space for leadership, professional development, and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools.
Students heard from speakers such as Lyla June, Lezley McSpadden, and Dr. Bettina Love and engaged in self-selected affinity groups. While the virtual venue for this year’s conference was new, it did not disappoint.
When asked about their experiences some students shared…
• “I’m so sad SDLC is over, I’m gonna miss it so much!”
• “I'm so thankful for this experience.”
• “This was such an amazing experience!”
• “Everyone there was very accepting and open to listening.”
When asked about big takeaways some shared…
• “My biggest takeaway [was] the cycle of Oppression and Socialization. I learned…how easy it is to internalize stereotypes or prejudices.”
• “My favorite activity was the bridge activity…surrounding gender and sexual orientation and how I have taken both those things for granted.”
• “…all students need educators that want to learn...”
When asked how they contributed to the sessions, some shared…
• “I listened.”
• “I shared my [personal] experiences.”
• “I spoke up.”
Needless to say, students enjoyed and appreciated their experiences. I am happy to have been a part of this experience with them and to have attended the educator’s portion, PoCC. Truly, PoCC and SDLC remain to be an experience like no other and we look forward to our school’s future involvement.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Coordinator