Teachers of Color

 

Most who know me get that I have a great passion for intellectual, economic, religious, and racial diversity. I am currently working on a few things that relates to the importance of diversity in independent schools; I am most excited about the hopes of being able to mentor and be mentored by other academics of color who are leaders in their field. The National Association of Independent Schools has made diversity its mission, as noted here:

“The NAIS board affirms the following for the People of Color Conference (PoCC) sponsored by NAIS: PoCC should be designed for people of color as it relates to their roles in independent schools. Its programming should include offerings that support people of color as they pursue strategies for success and leadership. Its focus should be on providing a sanctuary and networking opportunities for people of color and allies in independent schools as we build and sustain inclusive school communities.” — NAIS board of trustees, November 2006

NAIS addresses two important needs at PoCC and SDLC: the need for people of color to come together for networking and support, and the need for schools to find ways to build and sustain inclusive communities. Both PoCC and SDLC serve as energizing, revitalizing gatherings for people who experience independent schools differently. Teachers, students, and administrators of color from across the nation and from foreign countries, along with Caucasian/White allies and participants, gather to celebrate, nurture, and activate representative diversity, multiculturalism, and equity and justice for independent schools. PoCC brings together a diverse group of people from independent schools: Asian/Asian Americans, Black/African Americans, First Nation/Indigenous/Native Americans, International Participants, Latino/Hispanic Americans, White/Caucasian/European Americans. Together, they share the challenges and rewards central to their experiences in independent schools. Robert Witt, executive director of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS), said it best when he reflected on his experience at the 2002 PoCC (Chicago): “We learned that the People of Color Conference is a community with a sense of belongingness. We learned that it is a community, which is a safe place to express one’s own self among dear friends and colleagues. There is a goodness and a caring, a breathing in and a breathing out, which creates a harmony and a sense of something very nurturing and very healing.”

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