Tackling Social Issues at the Student Diversity Leadership Conference

Students practiced skills and analyzed important social issues during their recent experience at the annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC).

SDLC is a multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders from across the United States. Students come together to reflect and to better understand the nature and development of effective strategies for social justice. Will Bates ’18, Skye Casiano ’17, Tito Crichton-Stuart ’19, Liya Liang ’18, and India Patterson ’18 all attended the conference.
“The goal of this experience is not only to allow attendees to participate in important conversations about race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, and other social identifiers, but to also have our students bring these conversations and ideas back to our campus community for further discussions and reflection,” said Co-Diversity Coordinator Jason Goodwin.
To prepare for the conference, students participated in weekly meetings with Co-Diversity Coordinator Sarah Krauss '95. While at SDLC, students participated in discussion groups, art classes, and workshops, and listened to speakers; all of their experiences were centered on digging deeper into social issues including identity, power, privilege, and allyship.
“To go to a conference like SDLC creates a community that you could only wish the whole world could see,” says India Patterson ‘18. “I was surprised to learn how everyone welcomed these uncomfortable topics and the resolutions we were able to determine.”
Overall, the conference motivated attendees to make a difference at Millbrook. “The whole experience was very eye-opening for me,” said Tita Crichton-Stuart ’19. “It taught me to appreciate my privilege and how to have productive conversations about diversity.”
Some Millbrook students have attended the conference multiple times and continue to find it inspiring:
“This was my second year attending the conference, and it’s exciting to return to Millbrook with new perspectives and ideas each time,” said Liya Liang ’18.
Tahrieq Koonce ’17, who has attended the conference four times, also returned enthused. “Every time I attend this conference I return with more knowledge and fervor on how to push our conversations about diversity further. I leave the conference with the tools I need to catalyze these types of discussions at Millbrook,” he said.
Conferences like SDLC offer opportunities for thoughtful discussions around complex topics. We are excited for our student representatives to share and reflect around what they learned with faculty and peers, which will ultimately empower everyone to bring their best selves to all of the communities in which they participate.