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SDLC Offers Students Unforgettable Experience

(Courtesy/Zoya A.)

From Wednesday, November 29 to Saturday, December 2, Columbus Academy students and faculty attended the annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in St. Louis. Operated by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), SDLC draws in thousands of diverse student leaders from across the country and abroad. The event includes keynote speakers, affinity groups, general assemblies, and smaller “home groups” to facilitate meaningful discussions. This year’s theme was Bending the Arc Toward Justice: Radical Optimism, Transformational Joy, Resilience, and Brilliance. 

SDLC promotes allyship, community, and self-reflection in its activities. Eligible high schools create a multicultural and multiracial gathering where all feel welcome. Activist and musician, Simon Tam, kicked off the first night by discussing his landmark case, SCOTUS case Matal v. Tan. The court had ruled that the Disparagement Clause, which prohibits trademarks that disparage the members of a racial or ethnic group as a violation the First Amendment. Tan shared how the verdict was a victory for free speech and generated discussion about race and the power of reclaiming racial slurs. The 30th edition of SDLC saw over 2,000 students and 7,000 faculty participate. Sophomores Lizzie B., Abby X., along with juniors Gabe D-R., Isa E., and Arnav N.,and senior Zoya A. represented Academy along with Ms. Porter, Ms. Garita, Dr. Losambe, Mrs. Arnold, Ms. Newman, Mrs. Hines, Mrs. Jackson, Mr. Singleton, Ms. White (from middle school), Ms. Walder, Dr. Bundy, Ms. Chattman, and Ms. Gibbs. 

Zoya A. said, “SDLC was a life-changing experience. I learned a lot, met a lot of friends, grew closer to the other CA students who attended. Everything I heard and experienced will stay with me. I am so grateful for the experience and it will forever be one of my favorite CA memories.”


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