Bolles Attends Diversity Conferences

Students and Faculty Seek to Learn about Racial Inequality

A+slide+taken+from+a+workshop+workshop+at+the+POCC

A slide taken from a workshop workshop at the POCC

This year, students have had the opportunity to attend the virtual People of Color Conference in December and the virtual Low Country Student Diversity Conference this January.

Ms. McIntyre-Nathari, who attended the People of Color Conference explains, “Basically, there were a number of different conferences that you could attend on various topics… they were all focused on equality and how private schools can start to incorporate these programs and lesson plans.”

Jakhye Wilkins (‘22), who attended the People of Color Conference in October said “I jumped in already saying that I wanted to do it not knowing like any details whatsoever. I had no idea what I was doing… so they’re willing to teach us ways to remedy or fight that problem in our respective schools and spaces and communities, not just at school, but also outside of school as well.”

Ms. Karvounis, a library-teacher at the Ponte Vedra Campus, also attended the People of Color Conference. “A major theme from my People of Color Conference experience are that schools can be a locus for social justice develpment and education in order to promote democracy and freedom for all. I was better able to relate to a Bolles education after this conference” Karvounis said.

Sophie Grace Posick (‘22), who attended the virtual Low Country Student Diversity Conference, explained what interested her in the program: “I was hoping that maybe there would be a speaker or somebody that would say something that would leave me thinking and get me started on thinking about things that I may not have previously considered.”

These conferences offered students the chance to attend lectures with esteemed speakers and discuss complex issues with peers in affinity groups.

“Affinity groups were specific to say your race or your gender identity so you can feel comfortable going into your affinity groups and talking about whatever you had learned that day.” McIntyre-Nathari said.

Ashman stated, “Members of marginalized groups who attend are supported by being provided with a sense of belonging, acceptance, and validation and it also allows them to be authentic and their full selves.”

One workshop that Posick attended at the Low Country Student Diversity Conference was titled Civil Discourse. “It was talking about how we can disagree without having to argue with each other and to be so antagonistic, and that was really interesting,” Posick said.

So I think it’s important for people to realize you don’t have to agree with what people are saying, to listen to them speaking, and to make sure and to listen to their point of view.”

— Sophie Grace Posick

Media literacy is the ability to determine whether a source is credible and worthy of influencing opinions. Another workshop at the LCSDC was called the Foundation of Truth, with Jerome Smalls that addressed the issue of media literacy. Posick explains, “He talked about how the world is: there’s so much information that’s being flooded at us currently and it’s really hard to figure out what is true, what is false, and how to find the truth and all the information.”

Wilkins explained one of the workshops he attended: “We talked about on-campus protests, and what we can and cannot do, according to certain state laws, and balancing school life and being active with bringing about change in our school communities.”

I felt a lot safer. I felt like I could express my opinion without any, any backlash. I feel like that was more how I would behave if I wasn’t living in a society where I am the minority.”

— Jakhye WIlkins ('22)

The workshop that McIntyre-Nathari remembers most vividly featured a familiar face to Bolles attendees. Eddie Glaude Junior, who spoke at the Bolles black history month convocation, was one of the orators present at the People of Color Conference. McIntyre-Nathari said, “That was very interesting because he is very well versed in equity and inclusion.”

“This conference had a profound impact on me, so I imagine the same is true for colleagues who attended… the voices of workshop leaders echo in my mind. I seek to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion purposefully and daily in my work at Bolles, as PoCC reminds attendees that these themes are inextricable from an excellent education” Karvounis said.

“I would absolutely recommend it to other people.” McIntyre-Nathari said. “Especially since it is geared toward independent schools, and as far as this particular climate, it is essential that you have all the resources that you can possibly gather so you can have the best practices for diversity and equity moving forward.”