Reflecting on the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC)
This past December, Natalie C. ’22, Maya M. ’23, and Madi W. ’25 all participated in the NAIS Online Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). Offered annually in conjunction with the NAIS People of Color Conference, SDLC is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of student leaders in grades 9-12 from across the United States and abroad. This year’s conference was held virtually. Following is a reflection from Student Head of School Natalie C. ’22 on her experience:
I recently had the opportunity to attend the SDLC conference that is hosted once a year and I want to share this remarkable experience with you all.
Before attending this conference, I didn’t really have an expectation of how it was going to go. I just knew that the purpose was to celebrate multiculturalism. I remember the first question asked at the conference was “How do you identify yourself?” The hosts then asked us to turn off our cameras and only turn them back on if we identified as the race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status that they listed. At the end, there was a group of people who didn’t turn their cameras on and simply wrote on the Zoom chat, “I don’t feel like I belong anywhere.” The hosts then requested that all of those students turn their cameras on and said “you belong here.” And for a split second there, I got very emotional; there were about 650 people on the Zoom, yet the hosts were able to make EVERY single one of us feel validated.
Following that were workshops. “Making Your Own Identity Molecule” and “How Do You Define Oppression” were the ones that stood out to me. It was an eye-opening experience, seeing how societal stigmas influenced multiple aspects of our identity and lives. For instance, societal stigmas placed upon sexual orientation heavily influenced what students deemed as a “safe environment.” Likewise, the “identifier of oppression” workshop widened my knowledge of systematic oppression. There are SO many forms of oppression that fellow students have experienced for being the most authentic versions of themselves. There is a quote from that workshop that stuck with me. A fellow student said, “How amazing it is to be in a space where you don’t have to explain yourself, where you don’t have to question your comfort or safety for being who you are.”
This is a very brief summary of what I've gained from this opportunity, and this truly is a one-of-a-kind experience that I’ll forever be grateful for.
An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.