Seven teachers and staff members attended the People of Color Conference (POCC), sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools. Diversity Co-Coordinators Raynetta Clay and Peggy Hamilton attend annually and were glad to have many new adults attend the conference: Assistant Director of Admissions Andrea Wotherspoon, math teacher Eric Chalfin, science teacher Bernard Griggs, science teacher Quillian Haralson, and College Counselor Stacy Richardson.
“The conference helped reinforce the importance of diversity and inclusion and why the work is so important,” says Andrea, who attended for the first time.
Due to the conference’s proximity to Visitation's exams, students were unable to attend the Student Diversity Leadership Conference that happens simultaneously. However, this allowed more school staff to go to the POCC than in the past. The faculty and staff brought new perspective and knowledge back to campus--and not only to the Kaleidoscope Multicultural Club, but to the entire Visitation community.
“Advancing Human and Civil Rights: Fulfilling the Dream Together” was the theme of this year's POCC. Attendees had a variety of workshops and speakers to choose from.
Raynetta especially enjoyed keynote speaker Bryan Stevenson, founder of Equal Justice Initiative, which works to combat injustice in mass incarceration. She reports that to facilitate change, Bryan promotes proximity to the problem, changing the narrative, staying hopeful, and being willing to be uncomfortable.
In addition to the speakers, the conference allowed participants to network and strategize with others administrators.
“I always get a lot of ideas that are valuable to bring back to Kaleoscope,” says Peggy. This year she cited a panel called “The ‘Trump Effect’ in Independent Schools: Supporting Student Diversity After a Racially Divisive Election.” Panelists discussed how the election results were discussed and unpacked within each of their schools and shared anecdotes, suggestions, and best practices.