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Student Diversity Leadership Conference 2019

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Student Diversity Leadership Conference 2019

Courtesy of Emily He '21

Courtesy of Emily He '21

Courtesy of Emily He '21

Emily He

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On April 7, a group of Kent students participated in the 17th annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference held at St. Luke’s school.

The conference commenced with a student speaker’s thought-provoking presentation on Colorism, which is society’s favor in lighter-skinned African Americans over the darker-skinned.

“The assumption that the dark skins are tougher and less gentle than their light-skinned counterparts,” she explained, “is caused by people’s preference on those who have European bloodlines, which is discrimination against Africans.” Although diversity is more embraced nowadays, forms of discriminations such as colorism still exist and need to be solved.

During breakout sessions, students from different schools formed small groups to discuss controversial questions regarding ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Under the guidance of session leaders, group members developed better understandings of themselves after an activity about self-identity, where each member eliminated five out of six most important self-identifiers they wrote down at the beginning of the session.

In the afternoon, group members shared their schools’ issues or actions taken regarding diversity and created proposals to improve the diversity at their schools. Ideas included increasing the number of faculty of color, and providing year-long courses on African, Asian, or Latin American cultures to raise ethnicity awareness at school.

After the conference, Kent students and faculty shared their experiences and gains. Dr. Dallett, the Social Justice Club’s advisor, says, “Kent students who are not European American or heterosexual may sometimes feel isolated, and want their voices to be heard more. This conference is a wonderful opportunity for them to share their experiences and exchange ideas with similar students in Connecticut.”

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Student Diversity Leadership Conference 2019