U-High reps attend diversity, inclusion conferences

Ella Beiser, Sports Editor

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Eighteen Lab adults and six students attended the People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Seattle Dec. 4-7 hosted by the National Association of Independent Schools.

Students and faculty applied in the spring. Students who attended were Noor Asad, Mikaela Ewing, Danny Han, Omar Siddiqui, Saeyanni Simmons and Gershon Stein.

Priyanka Rupani

Priyanka Rupani, director of diversity equity and inclusion, said registration opens for both conferences in September and the student conference fills quickly. Each school is allowed six students.

“So, in order for us to get our students registered, we need everyone’s information before school starts,” Ms. Rupani said, adding that the process is similar for adults because of limited funds, the importance of this conference to people and the learning opportunities.

Going to the conference was like the first time I saw myself and really understood parts of my identity that I never really got a chance to reflect on”

— Priyanka Rupani

At the conference, students split into groups of 80, and facilitators led them through activities around diversity, equity and inclusion.

Following the conference, U-High students are required to lead a Social Justice Week workshop and a workshop during middle school Diversity Day, as well as talk to the Diversity Advisory Council.

Ms. Rupani attended the conference when she was a student at U-High.

“The student conference was the most important experience I had when I was a student here and arguably one of the most transformative experiences I’ve had in my life. I was so fortunate to be able to go,” Ms. Rupani said. “It was so was the first time that I was able to, like, really fully reflect on me. We didn’t have an office of diversity, equity and inclusion when I was a student here. We talked about diversity, but not quite in such a robust ways that happens now. So, going to the conference was, like, the first time I saw myself and really understood parts of my identity that I never really got a chance to reflect on.”

Noor Asad

Students also found the environment to be positive.

“It’s different here at the conference because everyone is here to learn and grow and support each other, which is a really hard thing to find sometimes,” said Noor Asad, a junior who attended the SDLC. “It’s also different because most of the places I’ve been to are places where being a person of color is what makes you stand out, but here we’re honoring diversity in a way I’ve never seen before.”