The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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At DEI conference, students gain valuable lessons to foster inclusivity

A+group+of+six+U-High+students+attended+the+NAIS+People+of+Color+Conference%2C+which+took+place+in+St.+Louis+from+Nov.+29+to+Dec.+2.%C2%A0
Taariq Ahmed
A group of six U-High students attended the NAIS People of Color Conference, which took place in St. Louis from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2. 

A group of U-High students are hoping to make an impact on diversity, equity and inclusion programs after they attended the NAIS People of Color Conference, which took place in St. Louis from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2. 

Engaging in workshops, discussions and diverse activities such as games, poetry and performances, the students gained valuable insights into fostering DEI in educational environments. 

The conference was a meaningful gathering that brought together educators and leaders of color from across the country. The National Association of Independent Schools hosted the event to showcase the organization’s commitment to creating a fair learning environment for all.

Junior Christian Martinez found the event deeply personal and inspiring. For him, the conference fostered a newfound comfort in his own identity.

Christian, who identifies as Latinx, said, “The conference was very personal and inspiring. It was definitely a big self-confidence boost, and it made me comfortable with my identity.”

With a theme of “Gateways to Freedom: A Confluence of Truth, Knowledge, Joy and Power,” the conference served as a platform for students and educators to gain new perspectives and insights into making an inclusive academic environment for all. 

Throughout the conference, participants engaged in workshops and discussions about DEI, core identifiers and cancel culture. Activities included games, poetry, performances and guided discussions. Sessions delved into aspects of creating an inclusive academic environment and how to educate others about DEI.

“At first we started with simple icebreakers but eventually transitioned to talking about larger topics such as cancel culture and core identifiers,” Christian said. “We got a lot done in our groups and I found it very productive.”

Similarly, junior Olivia Adams found that the conference helped her feel more comfortable and seen.

“Especially as someone who doesn’t always feel comfortable being one of the only Black people in our institution, it really made me feel seen and heard,” said Olivia. “I truly felt like I belonged.”

The attending students presented what they learned about DEI and identifiers to the Lab adults who also attended. The students aimed to recognize the importance of DEI to apply this knowledge to the Lab environment. In particular, Olivia feels this new knowledge can benefit the DEI assemblies at Lab.

Olivia said, “I think a lot of people at Lab are tired of the DEI assemblies, but I think bringing back a lot of the activities we did in SDLC and the People of Color Conference is really going to help everyone be more involved in them.”

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About the Contributors
Milo Platz-Walker, Reporter
Milo Platz-Walker is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as a reporter. He joined the staff as a ninth grader in 2021 and returned as a junior. Outside of journalism, Milo competes in karate, listens to music and spends time with friends and family.
Taariq Ahmed, Digital Editor
Taariq Ahmed is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as the digital editor. He joined the Midway as a sophomore after moving from St. Louis, where he completed Introduction to Journalism at his previous school in ninth grade. Taariq is a part of his school's Young Men of Color group and Being Racially Aware and Valuing Ethnicity conference board. Outside of school, Taariq enjoys reading the news, listening to music, playing soccer and spending time with family and friends.

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