Saturday, December 10, 2011

Who Are My Brothers And Sisters?

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I returned from the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference on Saturday, Dec. 3. Yes, it IS a mouthful. This year, the conference took place in my hometown, Philadelphia: the city of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection). The title, and themes for discussion groups centered on the nation's birthplace and it's Mural Arts Project. It does my heart good to attend this conference - especially in Philadelphia - for many reasons.

First, I get to see amazing keynote speakers and attend thought-provoking workshops. Every year, they find people - big name people - like Wes Moore, Lorene Cary or Martin Nesbitt. But what is strikes me about these General Session Speakers is how real they are. They get up in front of thousands of people (this year's total for adults and students was just over 3800) and tell their story. They tell it like it is. Respectfully. Meaningfully. And occasionally through some tears.

Second, I reconnect with my fellow independent school educators and I get to meet new ones. I met many of my friends from Philadelphia, Delaware and New York. However, since I've relocated to the western side of Massachusetts, it is crucial for me to know who is in my neck of the woods (quite literally). At a regional meeting, I represented my independent school and proudly display my school's colors for the other schools to see. And I met new allies in the independent schools that are close to me. Like the Girl Scout saying goes, make new friends and keep the old.

Third, I get to see my "family". No, not my family who live in New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota nor the Philadelphia area. My new "family" of transracial adoptees. There are specific times in the conference set aside for reflection on your own identity and what it means in the greater world. Last year, the NAIS PoCC created another break-out group  - for transracial adoptees. After three sessions of exploring our identities together, there is a kindred bond that is hard to explain...these friends are my new brothers and sisters.

Don't be surprised if the next few blog posts are about my "take-aways" from this conference. Those two-and-a-half days DO leave a lasting impression. 

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