In early December, Jourdan Jones `23, Vic Quintero `25, and Emma Valentin `23 attended the NAIS 2022 People of Color Conference’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in San Antonio, Texas.
The conference is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of high school student-leaders from across the nation and abroad. It is a chance for students to come together and develop cross-cultural communication skills, design practical strategies for social justice practice, and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles.
"The conference was super eye-opening for me," says Quintero. "It was the first time I'd seen so many students like me and heard so many stories similar to my experiences. Having my experiences affirmed and being able to relate to others like me was life-changing."
About 1,600 students from various races, identities, minority groups, and schools attended the conference. For these three Country Day students, it was a chance to further their work in the school's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council, which all three are members of and actively involved in.
"I left the conference feeling lucky to have groups like the EDI Council and Black Cultural Workshop at Country Day but also feeling like we could do more to connect all students with their cultures and make sure that every student's voice is heard and every student is set up for success," says Jones. "This is everyone's work, and I think it's important for any student, not just minorities, to attend a conference like this."
In addition to large group sessions, the students also had "family groups" and "home groups," which were smaller break-out groups that allowed for sharing in smaller units.
"I went to this conference expecting to share my story, but I learned way more from others than myself," said Valentin. "I left feeling hopeful and excited for the future at Country Day and schools around the country. All 1,600 of us are working towards the same goal and are dedicated to making the same change. We have to be willing to have these conversations and create these spaces for students to join groups representing their identities and continue giving students and teachers at Country Day the opportunities to educate themselves and advance EDI work."