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Derryfield Builds Connections at Students of Color Conference

Emanne Khan '19
Over the course of the past few years, Derryfield has seen a reinvigoration of interest in issues relating to identity and social justice, with RADS, GLOW, and Gender Equality Club enjoying prominent positions on campus. In addition to programs at school, students are venturing outside of the community to learn more and connect with others over these issues. On Saturday, September 29, a small but mighty group of six Derryfield students, accompanied by Ms. Llewelyn and Ms. Teeters, made the journey to the Holderness School for the Northern New England Students of Color Conference.

The groups from Holderness and Derryfield were joined by students from the Dublin School, New Hampton School, Brewster Academy, and the White Mountain School. Rather than presenting traditional conference-style lectures and presentations, the conference opened with a passionate and engaging welcome by Holderness Dean of Students Mr. John Lin. Mr. Lin prompted the students to share issues facing the world that trouble them, then reflected on the progress society has made since he delivered a similar address over a decade ago.

After the welcome address, students broke off into different classrooms to attend “unconference sessions,” in which small groups discussed topics chosen earlier on by the students themselves. Topics ranging from interracial dating to the use of hateful slurs to the experience of being a minority in a predominantly white school promoted student-driven discussion. The Derryfield attendees took turns sharing their experiences and speaking their truths with their peers from other schools. The night culminated in a brainstorming session for how students might translate the discussions into change back at school, followed by a celebratory dance.

For many of the student attendees, the conference was the first time they were in the majority instead of the minority. We look forward to seeing them put what they learned into action at school, as well as a promising future for social justice at Derryfield.
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