“SDLC is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders (grades 9–12) from across the U.S. SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participants will develop effective cross-cultural communication skills and better understand the nature and development of effective strategies for social justice.” – National Association of Independent Schools
Last month, members of Bay’s student leadership group SEID (Student Equity Inclusion and Diversity) attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in Atlanta, GA. After their return, we caught up with Makayla ‘18 and Boris ‘19 to ask about their experience and what they took away from the conference.
Why was it important for you to attend SDLC?
Makayla: This conference was important to me because I like working with social justice/DEI issues around the Bay community. Also, it’s really hard being an African American student in a predominantly white school. I feel that sometimes some race issues are pushed aside in our community and I wanted to be able to talk comfortably with people like me who share the same conflicts/issues within their school. I wanted to experience this new community and accept the guidance they have given me so that I can help resolve these issues that I am facing within my school.
Boris: For me, I identify as a Latino and I felt like this conference was the perfect place for me to share my experience being a part of a minority group at a predominantly white private school. I think I was also hoping to meet other Latino students who are in my position and to hear their personal experiences. I also wanted a place where I could feel safe talking with other students of color who go to private schools and the different ways we could work through racism at our schools.
What did you learn? What was your biggest takeaway from the conference?
Makayla: The main thing I learned during the conference was to STAY WOKE. What I mean by that is I need to be able to identify these issues and stand up for what I believe in no matter what the obstacles are. I also learned that you can’t do it alone and I need a strong support system when trying to resolve DEI issues around a particular community, especially a predominantly white community.
Boris: I honestly learned a lot from both the counselors and the students that attended SDLC. Knowing that there are thousands of other students of color going to private schools and facing similar challenges really empowered me and made me realize that in the end, all of the hardships are worth it. I learned about the power of storytelling and sharing our cultures so that people can better understand our background.
Now that you have all of this knowledge, how do you plan to use it?
Makayla: The biggest goal I hope to accomplish at my time here at Bay is supporting the students of color and making them feel comfortable and supported in the Bay community at all times. I want to serve as a support system to people who don’t know how to handle these DEI issues so that they can better understand and comprehend what’s going on while feeling supported.
Boris: I am hoping to reopen the HOLA (Hispanic/Latino Alliance) Club next year and I am hoping for more people to come. I think it is important for our Hispanic community to get together and offer our culture to the rest of the community. I am also hoping to continue working with SEID to make Bay a safer and more open place for students of color.