What Happens When We Get Together PoCC & SDLC 2013

Bus Pic


As many of you know, the People of Color Conference (PoCC) is an annual two-day conference with workshops, celebrated speakers, heritage and association sessions, documentary screenings, book signings, and  supportive connections. When it’s all said and done, you are simultaneously exhilarated and exhausted!

The conference was created by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)  for administrators and faculty of color. It continues to be the convening space for faculty and administrators of color, but has grown to include many more  attendees (2013 attendance was more than 2,200) representing eight social identifiers: race, ethnicity, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic class, and religion.  SDLC, the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, was established as a co-located event for independent school students(over 1,400 attended), also representing the eight core social identifiers.

PoCC pic

Where are the parents in all of this you  might ask. Well, we are not a targeted audience, but some of us show up as interlopers. I’ve always felt like one, despite the fact that I’m there on official RIISE business,  and more importantly,  I’ve been invited to attend by Riverdale (thank you Sandy Shaller ’09 & Dwight Vidale ’13) as sort of a parent ambassador twice. Parents, if you are interested in attending your school just might send you.

Once there, I was part of the tribe, the numerical majority! It’s truly an incredible experience. As a result, last year RIISE successfully launched the annual spring Parent Power Conference to provide prospective and current families of color from various independent schools with, what we hope, is a similarly profound and  rewarding experience. Excuse the self-promotion…back to PoCC and SDLC.

Pocc pics2

Here are the highlights:

  • The excitement of the bus ride to the DC Metro area with Riverdale & Horace Mann teachers, faculty, and students 
  • The shrieks and shout outs from colleagues and peers who hadn’t seen each other all year
  • The warm feeling of strength in numbers and familiar faces
  • Elevating the Black Male Workshop ( more on that in a subsequent blog series Two Mothers – A Collaboration – Fears for My Son)
  • Schools saying they want to learn more about RIISE
  • Lunch with Chapin’s Chair of Parents of Children of Color (POCC), Jaime Kim Ross discussing Korean culture, parenthood, importance of affinity groups, next steps for Chapin & RIISE
  • Seeing extended version of Prep School Negro, giving Andre Lee a big hug & viewing trailer of his upcoming student documentary I’m Not a Racist…Am I?
  • Amazing dinner with RCS
  • Listening to Pulitzer Award winner, JUNOT DIAZ and his commentary on  it’s about class, not race – ” they are #*@% inextricably tied together ” I have paraphrased and removed expletives
  • Lunch with Alile, Markell, and Josy
  • Getting the courage to share my passion for parent engagement with a 20 sec commercial in front of an audience of hundreds, gaining consensus, & good feedback
  • Witnessing ‘sitting on the floor room only’ at a jam packed American Promise screening
  • Watching our students lead and express themselves
  • Staying an extra day to see my Howard U buddies only to be stuck on an 8 hour bus ride home during the snow storm! Well worth it though

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