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The Student Diversity Leadership Conference
by Dr. Trina Moore-Southall, Director of Equity and Inclusion

Every year, one of the most impactful experiences that students have is the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), and this year was no different. The most popular conference of its kind, schools across the country are limited to 6 participants. These student participants engage in workshops, conversations, activities, and exercises that require them to think critically about their own identities and those of others. With workshops on justice and how to not be a bystander, students are empowered to advocate for themselves and other marginalized groups. For a second year, the conference was virtual. Brentwood gathered with 4 other Los Angeles independent schools for an in-person experience at a local hotel. Yes, it is a time for critical thinking—and also a time to bond with each other and have a lot of fun! A few students share about their experiences below:

“I have enjoyed having a community to talk to and feeling heard. I am learning more and more everyday and can’t wait to take what I learned and use it in our school community.” —Jade V. ’23

“My favorite part of the Student Diversity Leadership Conference was the Black/African American affinity group meetings. It was so nice to be in a space with others I could relate to on multiple levels. From talking about different African foods we love to how it is to be Black at a predominantly White institution, there was a sense of community. I felt that made me like I was part of this dynamic, intelligent, and fun family.” —Jason U. ’22

“Getting to hear the different perspectives while learning and discussing topics that I never considered has been very meaningful to me. Not only have I learned new things about myself, but I've learned new things about different communities. I feel more confident in my abilities to uplift and support other groups of people, as well as my own. Another fantastic part of SDLC is the community aspect. Despite being on Zoom, we have found ways to connect with one another.” —Haeley G. ’23

“My favorite part of SDLC were the Latinx affinity group meetings. I felt so seen interacting with people who had such similar experiences to my own. I found myself grinning ear-to-ear the whole time—from breakout rooms, to group discussions, and even the moments after. I was able to find a sense of community being around people who knew exactly what I was saying. It felt like I was with my own family.” —Allie R. ’24

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