Students of Color Conference Discusses Pathways to Belonging

Five Derryfield students, Sparda and Pragyee Gurung, Dina Adhikari, Briana Sanchez Camilo, and Jazmin Sanchez Torrez, attended the annual AISNE High School Students of Color Conference at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, MA on Saturday, April 22. The theme of the conference was “Pathways to Belonging,” and the aim was to “lift up the voices and experiences of student identities often marginalized in independent schools and serve to build community, knowledge, and skills through workshops, keynotes, and student-to-student learning, sharing, and socializing.” The opening keynote speaker was Marvin Pierre, the executive director at 8 Million Stories, whose mission is to work to transform the lives of vulnerable youth through education, skills training, employment & authentic relationships. The closing keynote speaker was Jennifer DeLeon, the author of the YA novel Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From and White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, and Writing, and the editor of the award-winning anthology, Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education.

Jazmin Sanchez Torres was a presenter at the conference. Her workshop was entitled: Chicano Culture: Its Influence on Art and Music in the United States. In the workshop, the participants discussed the Chicano movement and other events that are often overlooked in typical school curricula. Sanchez Torres covered the history of Mexican-Americans through conversations about the Zoot Suit Riots, the Grape Boycott, and the Brown Berets. She then discussed how, through these events, Chicanos have had a major influence in shifting US culture, primarily in Los Angeles, California. The workshop then delved into an overview of Lowriders, and their cultural ties to Mexican-Americans. Finally, Sanchez Torres introduced a segment on rappers and singers that express struggles and resistance in Chicano/Chicana identities and gave her audience the opportunity to listen to Los Tigres del Norte, Kid Frost, Jae-P, and others who sing about being a Mexican immigrant in the United States.


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