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  • Writer's pictureMargaret Cissel

2020 NAIS Online People of Color Conference: “New Decade, New Destinies: Challenging Self, Changing

By Kate Humphrey

For the past seven years, the highlight of Educator’s Ally’s year has been our sponsorship of the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference (PoCC). We could not be more excited to support, in our eighth year, the first-ever online iteration of PoCC. Despite the different setting, we know that the mission and restorative nature of the conference will remain the same and is more important than ever. Increasing the diversity of faculty in schools has long been a priority of EA’s and we are honored to sponsor the first-ever PoCC Social Justice Summit: Waking Up NAIS Schools, featuring noted social justice and civil rights advocates Brittany Packnett Cunningham, activist, educator, and leader at the intersection of culture and justice, as well as founder of Love & Power Works; Khyati Joshi, scholar of the intersectionality of race, religion, and immigration; Jose Vilson, Math Teacher, Executive Director of Educolor, and author of This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education; and Randall Dunn, Head of School of Latin School of Chicago.  The Social Justice Summit will be kicked off with a keynote address from Lezley McSpadden-Head, Chief Executive of the Michael O.D. Brown Foundation, and moderated by Caroline Blackwell, NAIS Vice President for Equity and Justice.

PoCC is NAIS’ flagship event for discussing issues of equity and justice in teaching and learning. For over thirty years, the conference has offered unique seminars, master classes, affinity groups, and a myriad of over one hundred workshops that focus on topics pertaining to social justice, inclusion, equity, and diversity independent schools. As a safe space for people of color, PoCC provides opportunities that foster leadership skills, networking abilities, professional development, and the chance to advance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate at schools. With past conferences occurring in cities like Seattle, Nashville, and Atlanta, PoCC strives to positively influence academic, social-emotional, and workplace outcomes for both adults and students.

A crucial component of PoCC is the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), a parallel conference designed specifically for student leaders in high school that focuses on “self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community”.  The workshops and smaller group sessions are led by adult and peer facilitators and the students’ passion and energy are palpable. It’s not uncommon to hear loud cheers and chants from the students as they make their way from their hotels to the conference center!

The theme for the 2020 conference is “New Decade, New Destinies: Challenging Self, Changing Systems, and Choosing Justice” which serves as a vital lesson on the importance of creating diverse environments and demanding justice for all. Although it will be a virtual conference held between November 30th and December 4th, we are confident every seminar, class, affinity group meeting, and workshop will be just as informative and impactful as previous years.

The 2020 General Session speakers are the distinguished scholars Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Dr. Bettina L. Love, and Dr. Khyati Joshi. Dr. Glaude is chair of Princeton’s Department of African American Studies, president of the American Academy of Religion, author of Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, and In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America, and has contributed to The New York Times, Time Magazine, and HuffPost. His writings and teachings take inspiration from African American literature and examine politics, gender, class, and religion in Black communities.

Dr. Love is the award-winning author of Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South and We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom. Her work has been featured in publications such as the English Journal, Urban Education, The Urban Review, and the Journal of LGBT Youth and explores a wide variety of subjects including, Abolitionist Teaching, Hip Hop education and feminism, anti-racism, queer youth, Black girlhood, and Black joy.

Joshi’s work aims to promote cultural and religious pluralism in the U.S., particularly through the lens of the South Asian American and other immigrant communities’ experience.  Her most recent book is White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America and she is also the author and co-editor of Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice.  Dr. Joshi runs in-depth professional development programs for educations through the Institute for Teaching Diversity and Social Justice, of which she is a co-founder.

In addition to the wonderful keynote speakers, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from people like LaShawn Chatmon, Executive Director of the National Equity Project during PoCC’s Master Classes, and attend Equity Seminars presented by an array of diverse speakers from independent schools across the nation.

For more information, you can explore the conference’s Facebook page, Twitter, and register for PoCC on their website.  We are sorry not to be able to reconnect with old (and new) friends in person as you stroll through The Hub, but we are looking forward to (remotely) meeting you at our virtual booth, so be sure to connect with us on EA’s exhibitor page, and we can live chat or schedule a post-conference call!

Feeling nostalgic?  Take a look back at some of our previous PoCC experiences: 2019, 2018, 2017.


Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools nationwide. Since 1975, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike.

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