Saints Attend Annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference

St. Andrew's students attended the 2020 Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) during the week of November 30-December 4. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was held virtually for the first time in its 25-year-plus history.

SDLC is organized by the National Association for Independent Schools, and is "a multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders (grades 9-12) from across the U.S. and abroad. SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participating students develop cross-cultural communication skills, design effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles. In addition to large group sessions, SDLC 'family groups' and 'home groups' allow for dialogue and sharing in smaller units." (Description quoted from the NAIS/SDLC website.)

Students who attended the virtual conference shared these brief reflections on Friday, December 4:

Tracy Yuan ’22: "What sticks with me most from SDLC was how much we shared our vulnerabilities with each other and told our personal stories. Hearing all these painful yet hopeful experiences really gave me new perspectives on what equity means and how we can promote it in independent schools."

Emily Wei ’23: "The SDLC experience was really eye-opening. I really enjoyed learning about other people’s experiences through their identities."

Nikki Tora ’23: [Paraphrasing something shared by a peer during a closing session]: “Instead of feeling guilty or shameful… just try to activate because being feeling guilty or shameful will not make change. So take that energy and just try to be an ally and help other people who might not understand make a greater change.”

Pearl Mallick ’22: "It was amazing to be in this space with a bunch of people who are so different, but all really intelligent and thoughtful and kind. I started to think about the parts of my identity that... I don't think about [often] and what privilege I have when I am able to not think about it."

Zhenia Khalabadzhakh ’22: "I started questioning some of the aspects of my identity and understanding that some of the aspects of my identity are different in different societies.  Like white in the US means different thing as white in Ukraine. It feels a little bit different to be white Ukraine and white in the US. Even during SDLC, I felt some of my identities differently from how I feel them at St. Andrew's."

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