Students Head to Seattle for People of Color Conference


Nora Yasumura

The Hotchkiss delegation at the POC conference.

From December 4 to 7, students and faculty members took part in the NAIS People of Color Conference in Seattle, Washington. Thousands of students and teachers from across the country attended the event.
The Hotchkiss delegation included Isaac Alicea ’20, Kim Pothemont ’21, Tucker Briglin ’20, Ella Huang ’21, Yitong Wu ’20, Izhaar Rosa ’22, Mr. Pierre Yoo, instructor in chemistry, Dr. Susan Park, instructor in biology, Ms. Ashley Suan and Mr. Marcus Christian, instructors in English, and Ms. Nora Yasamura, Prep class dean.
Wednesday was focused on orientation and meeting delegates from other schools. The opening ceremony on Thursday was followed by group activities and affinity group workshops, such as “Strategic Design for Equity and Inclusion” and “Colorism in the Latinx Community.”
Friday included a keynote address from Wayne Au, associate professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell. A student talent show concluded the activities.
The conference embodied the school’s mission statement – that all community members should “open their minds and hearts to the views and experiences of others, creating space for all to belong and to thrive.” Dr. Rachel Myers, director of diversity and inclusion, said, “Students [had] the opportunity to…discuss important issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in independent schools at the national level. This conference allow[ed] for a lot of ‘guiding one another’ to create…better experiences for all students in our schools [and was] a place to exercise empathy, openness, and responsible citizenship.”
In addition to valuable learning about diversity and inclusion, students had a chance to make friends at other schools and get to know others in the Hotchkiss delegation better. Dr. Myers said, “I hope that students feel energized and ready to share with their peers how they can act in making real change [in] our school community.”
Students can anticipate an announcement in the spring about applying to attend the 2020 NAIS People of Color Conference.