Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC)


Nydia Monroy The Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) will be taking place this year in Indianapolis from December 3rd to December 6th. I first heard about the conference during a gathering. Ms. Buchanan and Ms. Maajid had previously informed students of the event and application process at the end of the last school year due to a change in the application calendar. All students interested had to turn in a short application due to the limit of eight student spots available. Having only heard bits and pieces of what the event would be like, I was interested to find out more. Maat Bates, freshman, who will be attending this year said she “heard about the conference from multiple adults and students at Latin … and was instantly intrigued.” When asked what she was most excited about, Maat said she “was most excited to meet students that shared similar views on diversity.” After attending the informational session and learning more about the conference, I knew the trip would be a great opportunity to learn and grow. Latin’s various clubs and affinity groups are places where students can learn to take on leadership roles outside of the classroom. However, these positions are not always so easily filled. It’s never easy being that one person that decides to take initiative on a topic or pose a question that could potentially be difficult to answer. SDLC provides students with the push that is sometimes necessary when speaking about topics such as diversity and how it affects our community. So what goes on during The Student Diversity Leadership Conference?   The conference is known to be an inclusive, multicultural gathering for high school students from around the country. The days are set up and scheduled to revolve around topics such as community building, allyship, and self-reflection. One of the unique aspects of the conference includes the role of peer facilitator for students who are able to visit more than once. The peer facilitator, who has attended the conference before, is trained to lead the new participants in activities and is able to experience the conference in a new light. This year Patrick Elliott, senior, will have the opportunity to be a peer facilitator. He said he was “glad to be able to go again…and [was] looking forward to bringing back new ideas and a better comprehensiveness toward diverse ideas.”   I asked him to speak a little about SDLC as a whole, he replied with the following: “When you first arrive you are put in different groups, about 50 to 75 kids per room, this is referred to as your community. In these rooms, proctors break people up into smaller groups. These ‘family’ groups are who you conduct all activities with. As a peer facilitator this year, I will be in charge of my own family group. On activity that I enjoyed was ‘I Have the Right to…’. Everyone would break into a different affinity group (based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion) and come up with different ‘I have the right to’ statements. The objective of this was to think of other rights people have that you may not have and to voice that inequality. It was really a time to self reflect, as well as show everyone else what goes on in your mind. Once each group finished the activities, our proctors had us walk around and view each other’s lists. When we returned from SDLC back in 2012, Milon Hutchinson, senior, Julian Mowatt, class of 2014, and myself conducted this activity with a few advisories. SInce we were short on time we broke up in to male and female affinity groups. After everyone joked around for about 10 minutes, people actually started to participate in the activity. There was a great conversation which took place after it, and the thirty students that were apart of it all said they thought it was a good idea. I hope that the group that goes this year can also find a way to include the rest of Latin’s community into SDLC’s philosophy. My favorite thing about the SDLC experience was the people I met. So many of my close friends were made during that four day conference in Houston. SDLC truly does build a community, and I hope a lot more people apply in the years to come.” The eight students representing Latin at the conference this year will be Maat Bates (9th grade), Sofia Mendieta (10th grade), Wade Pryor (11th grade), Patrick Elliott (12th grade), Gianna Miller (12th grade), Miya Coleman (12th grade), Shamiram Yousef (12th grade) and myself. Various teachers will also be coming to Indianapolis and attending workshops where they will engage in similar activities and conversations. I hope I can bring back new perspectives and opinions from SDLC, but also extend what I learn from the conference to Latin. I would also encourage anyone interested in next year’s conference to ask questions and reach out to both the teachers and students who are or have attended before!]]>