BRAVE conference to facilitate conversations on racial, ethnic identity


BRAVE Conference

Attendees of the Becoming Racially Aware and Valuing Ethnicity conference will discuss topics including Generation Z pop culture and recent events.

Clare O'Connor, Reporter

Students can sign up for this year’s Becoming Racially Aware and Valuing Ethnicity conference that will take place on May 12 through Zoom.

The BRAVE conference is a full day focused on exploring racial and ethnic identity through discussions, workshops and input from guest speakers. This year, the conference’s theme is understanding and overcoming internalized and generational racism within ourselves, others and society. 

In previous years, the conference had limited the number of attending students to facilitate more intimate discussions between speakers and students. However, this year, there is no student cap due to the online setting.

“The theme keeps becoming more relevant. Just looking at what’s happened in the past few weeks, it’s clear that there needs to be a conversation about this stuff,“ ninth grader Katie Williams said.

Katie is one of 13 students on the BRAVE committee who has worked to plan the conference this year. Katie said that she applied to join the planning committee this year because of her experience participating in the conference while she was in middle school. 

“I’m always in awe that we have a group of students that can sit down, build their ideas and really put something together,” Theodore Stripling, the BRAVE committee faculty adviser, said. “Their work gives the rest of the school a space to talk about these important things.”

Both Katie and Mr. Stripling emphasized that the conference centers around student conversation with the speakers and with each other. 

“BRAVE isn’t like any other diversity event that I’ve seen at the school,” Katie said. “We really give students the power to learn stuff from each other and sort of learn from themselves. We are the ones impacted by racism in the hallways and the videos and news stories that pop up every week. I feel like we deserve to talk about that and be part of the work to make some progress.”

Mr. Stripling said that the student committee is uniquely able to select topics and speakers that are specifically important to students. This year’s topics will include Generation Z pop culture in workshops such as “The Problem With ‘Hot Cheeto Girls’” and recent events in workshops such as “Race, The Election, and The Insurrection” and “Homophobia and Transphobia Within Communities of Color.”

While the topics discussed in the conference more directly impact students of color, the committee encourages all students to participate.

“It’s a great space to talk and dialogue and listen to perspectives that you don’t have access to,” Mr. Stripling said. “Issues of race and identity impact a lot of people in our community, so even if you don’t personally struggle with race, it is important to be educated.”