On Sunday, April 15, nineteen students and five faculty attended the CAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference, an annual opportunity for students and faculty in Connecticut independent schools to discuss diversity, social justice, and leadership. This year, the conference was hosted at The Hotchkiss School.
Prior to the conference, ten students arrived at Hotchkiss a day early to train as facilitators. On Sunday, they lead groups of students from all over the state in discussing identity and intersectionality.
Here are some quotes from Hop students about their experiences:
"My experience was one of new findings and incredible experiences. I learned that, no matter someone's gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, and many other identifying attributes, we must all embrace one another's differences and cultivate a togetherness that can help build a united world. I learned of the struggles and hardships that many people must toil through in their lives. I want to work to counter that; never should anyone feel excluded, hurt, or not accepted because of who they are."
"...I truly felt like whenever anyone went up to the microphone, they were being encouraged by 600 other people. That's a feeling that you don't get very often."
"I met some really cool people and heard some moving stories. It was a reminder that not everyone has it as good as I do, and that some schools are a lot less accepting than Hopkins is..."
"...I also loved that as a facilitator I was really just able to listen...I loved getting to know all of the students in my group and being able to compare experiences no matter how different they were."
"...SDLC was a great and eye-opening experience; I got to talk with other students from around CT (and the world!) about many topics relating to diversity that affect students everyday. This type of respectful engaged discussion is not just personally meaningful but a powerful way to build understanding."
Over 600 participants attended this year, and we look forward to another successful conference in 2019!
Front Row: Ranease Brown*, Ms. Harper, Drew Mindell, Julia Kosinski, Rehab Senanu, Tanner Lee
Back Row: Adrian Horsley, Yassine Talhaoui (Hotchkiss Director of Multicultural Recruitment and Conference site organizer), Melody Parker*, Madeleine Walker* Michael Christie, Rayan Taroua*, Jamie Donovan*, Lauren Seto*, Liz Bamgboye*, Daniel Cao, Khelan Parikh*, Savan Parikh (behind Khelan), Mr. Ziou, Justin Ordway*, Ms. Gerstenfeld, Ms. Benedict, Devaughn Hamm*
Not Pictured: Sapphy Ching and Ms. Friedman