“Lose Your Judgment”—Students Share Experiences from SDLC

Six Upper School students shared their experiences from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference at Morning Ex this week. Seniors Audrey Hunter, Riya Jain, Pau Maset and Lyric Nelson and juniors Desi Molina and Hudson Davis, along with Parker faculty and staff representatives, spent three days in St. Louis attending this multiracial, multicultural gathering of students from independent schools across the U.S. and abroad.

The theme for this year’s conference was Bending the Arc Toward Justice: Radical Optimism, Transformational Joy, Resilience and Brilliance, which led to discussions on engaging in self-reflection, building community and embracing one’s identifiers. Those in attendance expressed their enjoyment of the experience and that they felt liberated, refreshed and reconnected with themselves.

The group related their range of emotions, balancing sadness and frustration when discussing some life experiences with joy and happiness from being in such a diverse space. They offered key takeaways from the conference, including the need for more student-led discussions on DEIB, organization of student roles and clarity in discussions— “Be crisp, say what’s core.” The students also encouraged affinity groups to connect with their counterparts at other schools. Parker’s Black Student Union just held its first social event, and it was a great success.

Students who attended the conference offered a letter to Parker as a response to their experience, saying that with careful fostering over time, there is an opportunity to make positive change at Parker. They encouraged students to embrace different ideas, speak their truths, be aware of biases and ultimately lose judgements so the community can celebrate one another more.

Parker will send another group of students to the conference next year and is fortunate to have several SDLC facilitators as part of its faculty and staff who can foster ideas, advance important conversations and support students.

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.