POCC 2009-Denver

[ December 06, 2009 ]

It was great to go to the People of Color Conference in Denver again this year. Although I was only able to make it for Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon, I was able to see the impressive presentation by Kenji Yoshimo and see two of our faculty members/administrators, Demetra Caldwell and Latoya Allen, present on their work starting an affinity group for students of color, SOC’s, in our Lower School. I was also able to catch up with a number of people whom I had not seen for a while.

Professor Yoshimo’s presentation was very interesting and touching. I liked how he thought we need to move beyond the concept of assimilation and accept difference in a more sophisticated way by truly accepting and celebrating the “otherness” of individuals. I appreciated the idea that we normalize difference rather than trying to have people “assimilate” to a norm.

Demetra and Latoya gave an exceptional presentation at 10 on Friday. It was only a shame that there were not more people there. Sometimes presentations present ideas with not much sense of the concrete actions one can take to turn the ideas into actions. They both gave people the theory behind their ideas to start up an affinity group in an elementary school, but they also gave people the tangible steps and resources they used to get the SOC’s group up and running. I was proud to be part of community that is thinking about inclusivity in such rich and nuanced ways.

I left Denver with the main idea that there are so many people asking good questions about our society and schools, but also who are taking these ideas, engaging in good dialogue and making things happen. The fight for true inclusivity, understanding and respect is still on, but it seems that the hard work of many is starting to bear fruit in so many good ways.

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