The Academy of Notre Dame de Namur is a Catholic, independent, college prepatory school for young women in grades 6 through 12.

A Catholic, Independent, College Preparatory School for Young Women, Grades 6 through 12

Academy of Notre Dame de Namur: Inspiring Young Women Since 1956

ND Participates in NAIS People of Color and Student Diversity Leadership Conferences

ND Participates in NAIS People of Color and Student Diversity Leadership Conferences

Notre Dame was thrilled to once again participate in NAIS's annual People of Color Conference (PoCC) and Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), which took place from November 29-December 3, 2021. 

The People of Color Conference is the "flagship of the [National Association of Independent Schools'] commitment to equity and justice in teaching, learning, and organizational development. The mission of the conference is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development for people of color, and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools."

Notre Dame's Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mrs. Tina Williams said that Soledad O'Brien's keynote was one of the most meaningful aspects of the conference because of her emphasis on belonging and making a commitment to making people or classmates feel like they belong. Williams shared that she "feels strongly about ND's commitment to belonging." 

The Student Diversity Leadership Conference is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of Upper School student leaders from around the globe. "SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participating students develop cross-cultural communication skills, design effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles." 

Students started off their days with their family groups, randomly assigned small groups of about 20-30 students meant to create a comfortable space for sharing thoughts, feelings, and expression with students of diverse identities. Then later in the day, students would met in their affinity spaces, which were larger groups of roughly 100 students who all shared a similar aspect of their identity. This would lead to smaller breakout groups that provided safe and intimate spaces for discussions about students' experiences inside and outside of school connected to their identity. Neighborhood groups, which included several hundred students, focused on large-scale speakers and sharing.

Notre Dame's participating students shared:

"My biggest takeaway from this week is that I am never alone. I met so many people from all over with diverse backgrounds that relate to me and my personal experiences."  
-Adjuke Heyburn '22

" ... I am Latina and my identity is my power, even though I am not fluent in a language, it does not make me any less than."
-Sophia Bramley '24

"Encouraging people to share their stories is so worth it. Even if they are shy, just ask if they want to share. Everyone has something to say."
-Audrey Gonzalez '24 

"I am capable of so much more. I am capable of making friends and speaking to hundreds of people. I am capable of so much more love and support." 
-Ava Barrera '24

"I learned that I gain more internal and external happiness knowing that there are people of the same race that I can share experiences with." 
-Kyla Payne '25

"My biggest takeaway was that every human is different but there is always something in life that will bring us together. We can all relate to each other in some way. All you have to do is see some things in different perspectives."
-Deborah Bundor '24