Written by Rahul Yates (@rahul.yates)
During the week of November 30th - December 4th, HSGT Founder & Executive Director, Rahul Yates, attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, which is a “multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders (grades 9-12) from across the U.S. and abroad,” and “focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community.” Here are his thoughts:
Attending the SDLC was a FANTASTIC experience! There were numerous events, meetings, gatherings, discussions, etc., that enriched my knowledge of various identities and the world. I met so many wonderful people, and they all made being on Zoom for hours every day so much more enjoyable.
Each day, we had the opportunity to go to affinity groups. As a multiracial person (South Asian & European), I was not sure which affinity group to go to, as there was one for South Asians, white people, and those who identify as multiracial. I ended up choosing the multiracial space because I felt that there I could be accurately represented, and I would be with others who could understand my experiences growing up as mixed-race. Over the course of 4 days, I knew this choice was the right one for me. Every time I shared about an experience I had had, others were nodding and agreeing, and everyone was supportive of each other being vulnerable and sharing personal stories.
My time at the SDLC really made me reflect on so many aspects of my life. Because all of the students came from independent schools, we had all experienced what it was like being some of the few minority students in our classes, grades, etc. At the SDLC, I finally remembered what it was like to be in a “classroom”-like setting that was POC-dominated. Having that feeling where you know that most people in the room can relate to what you’re sharing in some way, shape, or form, is definitely very heartwarming, and I felt a level of comfortability in a space that I have not felt in a long time.
Overall, my experience at the SDLC was phenomenal and beyond anything I could have imagined (even though it was virtual), and I urge anyone who has the opportunity to go to GO! It will change your life for the better.
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