This post is part of a series for the National Association of Independent Schools and the People of Color Conference. Liza will be blogging throughout this week related to the conference.
I boarded the plane on an early Wednesday morning in 2016. And, nearly everyone on there was a friend.
I was headed to the People of Color Conference, and amidst sleepy eyes and mile wide yawns, people were buzzing with excitement about their journey. After all, we were headed to a place where we knew we belonged.
Each year, the National Association of Independent Schools hosts the People of Color Conference. The mission of the conference is “to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools” (www.nais.org).
The 2017 conference will be my third year at the People of Color Conference. Though I have been to a number of conferences in my professional career that center around issues of multiculturalism, the PoCC is the only conference I have that is fully about the experiences, voices and expertise of People of Color. I have found my spiritual and academic independent school home here at PoCC and where the sessions are provocative, push my own thinking and learning, and lets me speak my voice.
The People of Color Conference, for me, indeed serves as a sanctuary where I can be fully myself: an Asian American, Pinxy, daughter of immigrants, womyn of color who is unapologetically proud to be me. My identities, in some spaces outside of PoCC, often have to be “toned down” or made more palatable for others. Not at PoCC.
At PoCC, I get to be myself.
I get to be in community of other people of color who, too, are tired of making themselves smaller, invisible and palatable for others. I am surrounded by people who wait an entire year for PoCC just to be heard and to be in the majority. I am in the presence of brilliance at PoCC.
So, what does PoCC do for people of color? It provides us a space to be brilliant - in all of our identities.
What does PoCC do for people who are white? It provides you an opportunity to see how incredible we can be and are when our voices are centered.
Enjoy PoCC everyone! See you in Anaheim!
Peace and love,