Preparing Boys for Life

Students and faculty explore identity and foster inclusivity at 32nd People of Color Conference

Six Upper School students and nine Haverford School faculty and staff across divisions, including workshop presenter Kerry Kettering-Goens, attended the 2019 National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference (PoCC) in Seattle. The School has been sending a delegation since 2006. Haverford students participate in the concurrent Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), and completed an application to qualify for the six spots that are allocated for each attending school.

Middle School language teacher and Diversity Coordinator Kerry Kettering-Goens co-presented a session titled “Colorism in the Latinx Community” with Gabbie Álvarez-Spychalski (The Baldwin School). They shared case studies of different instances of colorism from varying Latinx lenses and offered strategies for addressing colorism. The aim was to help participants change the narrative in their personal lives and in their schools, enabling them to spread awareness and create a more equitable and inclusive environment.

I wrote the poem about my Asian experience within Haverford, but I shared it at SDLC because I wanted to empower others to be proud of their identities. Quinn Luong, IV Form

“Colorism is prejudice against individuals with darker skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group,” said Kettering-Goens. “After sharing our personal stories and case studies, Gabbie and I invited workshop participants to reflect on when they had witnessed or experienced this type of prejudice. It led to a very productive discussion on how colorism can present itself in different relationships and environments, and how to address it.” 

According to the PoCC website, the mission of the conference is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. 

The SDLC sessions focus on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. The SDLC program included a talent show, where students shared original poems, songs, and art. IV Former Quinn Luong shared his poem, “To Be Asian,” with the 1,600 student attendees and adult facilitators. 

“I wrote the poem about my Asian experience within Haverford, but I shared it at SDLC because I wanted to empower others to be proud of their identities,” Luong said.