Three Things H-Town and The Boogie Down Have in Common

I. People of Color
II. Independent Schools
III. Passion

Dec 6-8 the NAIS People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership will be held in Houston -birthplace of Beyonce and affectionately known in the urban dictionary as H-Town.

This year PoCC celebrates a milestone – 25 years of serving faculty and administrators of color at our independent schools. This year’s theme is Energizing Our Future, and is co-located with SDLC.

The mission of the NAIS People of Color Conference is to provide a safe space for networking and a professional development opportunity for people, who, by virtue of their race or ethnicity, comprise a form of diversity termed “people of color” in independent schools. PoCC serves as an energizing, revitalizing gathering for people who experience independent schools differently.  

SDLC is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders (grades nine – 12) from across the U.S. SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participants will develop effective crosscultural communication skills, better understand the nature and development of effective strategies for social justice, practice expression through the arts, and learn networking principles and strategies.

Back in 2009, I had the pleasure of attending PoCC held at the Colorado Convention Center (thanks RCS!). Despite the cold and altitude, the Mile-High City of Denver was beautiful. And, as a parent of color in independent school, I was never the same again.

First of all, not since my days at Howard had I experienced the power of majority in education. In Denver I was in the company of thousands of folks of color with a common goal – “Moving Mountains – Mining Within’ – that year’s theme.

Secondly,  the place was teaming with diversity – some folks were from California, some, Virginia. They were Multiracial, Black, and  Southeast Asian, Native American, Latino and White. Heads of school, director’s of diversity, teachers, consultants, and students were all in attendance. There was a small minority of parents.

Yet, what really affected me was the passion in which the exchange of content and the delivery of support filled the convention hall and the workshops. And, it all met at the crossroads of education, culture, race, and safe space.

At the time, RIISE was just forming and I was nervous about what space it could hold for families of color in the independent school community. But, after PoCC I was encouraged. I was convinced that the passion of parents of color was and remains at a crossroad that also requires an inter-exchange of content and support.

So, here we are, 46 days since the NYTimes article Admitted, but Left Out.  And, just 7 days away from it’s follow up with a diverse group of parents of color, allies, administrators, faculty, and our kids. The theme of the RIISE Town Hall 2012 is Admitted and Successful! and it will be held in the Boogie Down Bronx (really, check the urban dictionary), on Wednesday, December 12, at Horace Mann School.

There will be plenty of folks of color, sharing diverse independent school experiences with passion!

 Register Today

@4RIISE Live Tweets right from the Town Hall #RIISETH

Wednesday December 12, 2o12
Horace Mann School
Fisher Hall – look for the clock tower
231 West 246th St
Bronx, NY

6pm – Reception – Fisher Hall – Cafeteria
6:30pm – Town Hall – Fisher Hall – Recital Hall
8-8:30pm- Afterthoughts

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