In November, 13 members of the GFS community including six students and seven faculty members traveled to Anaheim, California to join more than 6,000 students and teachers from independent schools nation-and-worldwide for the annual National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference (POCC) and Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). This year marked the conference's 30th anniversary and was the largest POCC to date.
Between Thursday's opening keynote speaker Kimberlé Crenshaw and Saturday's closing speaker Ta-nehesi Coates, faculty attended diversity and inclusion workshops ranging from creating inclusion in technology to discussing how to view classic literature through a modern diversity lens. Students attended activities as part of SDLC where they were often divided into "family groups" of students from different schools to discuss a breadth of topics facilitated by adult leaders. Director of Diversity and Inclusion Jessy Molina attended the conference as a facilitator this year.
On Thursday, December 7, the students and faculty who attended POCC/SDLC shared their take-aways from the conference with the GFS faculty during a professional development meeting. Students and faculty alike spoke about the eye-opening workshops and often life-changing experiences of building community across a wide variety of backgrounds. The students then led the faculty through an activity designed to spark discussion about cultural competency as they considered both real and hypothetical school experiences. Students also presented to the Upper School during Grizzly Gathering, and continue to think of ways to bring what they learned at the conference back to GFS.