Earlier this month, five students and six faculty members virtually attended the 25th annual National Association for Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference and the People of Color Conference.  

According to NAIS, the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) is a "multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders (grades 9–12) from around the country to examine issues of social justice, develop effective cross-cultural communication skills, practice expression through the arts, and learn networking principles and strategies." The GFS students who attended honed their leadership skills and learned how to be spokespersons and advocates for issues of diversity and justice.

GFS faculty and staff members who attended the PoCC portion of the event focused on issues related to creating equitable, inclusive and diverse environments in independent schools. PoCC is a safe space for networking and professional development, as well as a communal space for people to gather and share their individual or collective independent school experiences.

Carolyn Lewis, Director of Community Life and Inclusion at GFS, was attending the conference for the 13th year. "Every time I return from this event, I am renewed and inspired to continue our work surrounding social justice and equity," Ms. Lewis said. 

Continue reading for thoughts and comments from GFS students who attended the event.

“The SDLC conference was a safe space of incredible diversity and open-mindedness, which represented the ideal of coming generations in terms of equality and acceptance.”

“Being a part of SDLC made me proud of who I am because it was an environment filled with support from both adults and peers. While there and even though it was virtual I learned to speak my truth, even if my voice shakes!”

"The conference was an opportunity of true self-expression where conformist facades could be removed because of the safe and welcoming atmosphere. I learned to live, love, and carry on, for in doing that all good will follow.”