<h6> Blair Isken ’16 </h6>

For over a decade, Tower Hill has been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be a part of the People of Color Conference (PoCC) and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) that takes place every year in locations across the country. This year, Tower Hill sent six Upper School students, Brooke Hayman (2015), Drue Schwartz (2015), Nasir Wilson (2015), Brandon Nitsche (2016), Spencer Johnson (2016) and myself, Blair Isken (2016), to Indianapolis; there were another 1620 students from independent schools across the United States.Along with our teacher, Mr. Arturo Bagley, who has attended PoCC for the last nine years, we got to listen to speakers like Mr. Michael Eric Dyson discuss his own experiences with diversity and his opinion on situations that have been circulating in the news the last few months. Other speakers included: Maysoon Zayid, Derald Wing Sue, Cheryl Brown Henderson, Jose Antonio Vargas and Sonia Nazario.

Along with listening to lectures, as part of SDLC, the students were split up into “Family Groups” of roughly seventy people in order to more intimately debate from the ‘I’ perspective the Eight Pillars of Diversity: Religion, Ability, Age, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Socio-Economic Status and Race. We took part in activities that displayed a spectrum of how widely varied society is in terms of each individual’s background or identifiers. In addition to the Family Group meetings, we also were surrounded by people who could relate to one another through common titles or cultures; these were called “Affinity Groups” and each one was classified by race, LGBTQ+ and people who were interracially adopted. Either way, there is a place for everybody at SDLC, which is not something that all people can always say when at home in their every day environment.

Without the hard work and determination of Rodney Glasgow and countless others, neither PoCC nor SDLC would have been possible. Myself and the rest of the students from Tower Hill who attended the conference would also like to give a special thanks to Mr. Bagley for granting us the chance to enjoy this experience and for all the work he put in that enabled us to attend.