My 5th time: Houston, DC, Atlanta, Anaheim and now Nashville. National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference.
An education conference. A social justice conference. An affinity group space. All of the above.
Consider this, too: There are all these young people around. You know, high schoolers. Teenagers. Here at the conference. Because they have their own thing: Student Diversity Leadership Conference that runs parallel to and, at points, intersects with PoCC. Maybe we don’t talk about this as much as we might but when the kids are right there, hearing the same keynote speeches, seeing the glorious convergence of so many folks of color in one space – well, for me at least, that makes for a totally different vibe. I see their excitement and my own is cranked up a few more notches.
I mentioned to a friend at breakfast that I also looked forward to meeting teachers at all stages of their careers. First year colleagues and seasoned veterans fill these halls and again I feel so enriched just taking in the spectacle of so many members of my professional ilk who are Asian, Latinx, multiracial, Black and Indigenous in one place at one time. Oh, it is glorious. Every. Single. Time.
This conference (PoCC/SDLC) is substantial. It requires the better part of a convention center for 3000 or more participants per year. And yet folks find each other. There is so much laughter and hugging, exuberance in wall to wall affirmation.
Tomorrow when we assemble bright and early, I will again feel a little apprehensive. A little on the outskirts because I am not traveling with a group. I’m here on my own. But all it takes is that first familiar face, then another. Or, I sit next to someone completely new and our eyes meet during that first keynote and we both know why we’ve come all this way.
When I put myself ‘out there’ with a workshop in the first available session, I will be nervous and anxious that I’ll forget everything I was going to say, blank on all the activities I have planned. And then a few folks will enter the room and maybe a few more and just like that we’ll begin. And my latest PoCC experience will be fully underway.
I am here in the space and entirely ready to be real.
image via Pixabay.com