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Baltimore Student Diversity Leadership Conference 2019
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When: 11/09/2019
8:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Gilman School
5407 Roland Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland  21210
United States

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Students Dismantling

Walls of Injustice and Crossing Borders of Hope





Saturday, November 9, 2019

Gilman School

8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


The Baltimore Student Diversity Leadership Conference develops high school student leaders in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice. This grassroots conference has existed for over twenty years under the dedicated leadership of teachers and students who are a part of the Association of Independent Maryland & DC Schools (AIMS). 


Highlights for BSLDC 2019 include: 



Each student will sign up for two breakout sessions at the time of registration (see descriptions below).  The sessions are one hour long, run concurrently and will be repeated in two rounds.  REGISTER EARLY as spaces in the breakout sessions will be limited.  We will make every attempt to schedule students for the breakout sessions they choose during registration but,we may need to adjust due to size of the group attending. 


Breakout session choices: sign up for two on your registration form

Adult participants will be enrolled in the adult workshop automatically (please mark "adult participant" on the registration form)


1. Follow Me: Students Crossing Borders and Dismantling Walls

“Walls turned sideways are bridges.” -Angela Davis

Social Media and Global Activism are the main topics of this workshop. How can students help to make the U.S.A. more inclusive and accessible for people from all over the world through social media? How can your social media profile be edited to better reflect your story? Online, we can literally cross borders and dismantle walls-- putting an end to xenophobia through authentic story sharing, forming communities of allies, and educating each other.  Related topics: family separation; immigration reform; mass incarceration of children; US-Mexico border wall; deportation; asylum seekers worldwide; Muslim ban; online identity/profile; crowd sourcing movements online; believing vs. following; US History.


2. Speak Up: Your Vote Matters!  

Presented by Connelly School of the Holy Child, Potomac, MD 

As we face the 2020 U.S. presidential election, how do we promote honest conversations “across the aisle” in our schools? How can youth improve their political awareness in preparation for the upcoming presidential election? How can schools prepare their communities for strong reactions and public outcry in response to polarizing political issues? Workshop will feature a Harkness-style discussion.. We welcome diversity of thought and respectfully submitted views from all political affiliations. Related topics: impeachment; electoral college; U.S.History; identity politics; voting rights; voter suppression; election tampering.


3. BELOVED, Resist HATE! 

“…hate does that. [It] burns off everything but itself, so whatever your grievance is your face looks just like your enemy’s” –Toni Morrison, 1931-2019 Rest in peace, our beloved Toni Morrison.

The number of hate groups and related crimes is on the rise in the United States. How can youth combat violence spurred by intolerance--racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and religious bias? How can schools be proactive in curbing this epidemic through education? Related topics: school-based violence/shootings, mass shootings in public spaces and places of worship, freedom of speech; gun control legislation; toxic masculinity and mass shootings; hate posting online; English literature; US History.


4. Inside Out - When We Fight Each Other, They Win! 

“The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” - Audre Lorde 

In this workshop, we will examine horizontal hostility among the underserved. Why do so many struggles for justice fail because of in-group fighting? How can youth lead in a way that rises above bickering among peers and gets the job done? How can diverse youth form coalitions of change and avoid group dynamics pitfalls? Is social class an equalizer? Related topics: race and the women’s movement; oppression Olympics; genocide; conflict resolution; the minority majority in America; US History; online bickering.


5. Mindfulness: Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Wellness for Diverse Young Leaders

“It’s not the load that weighs you down, it is the way you carry it.” -Lena Horne

This workshop will offer specific activities and habits of mind that can make your life more peaceful and manageable. How do youth in leadership roles take time for self-care and mental breaks? How can we demystify mental health care in communities for whom psychotherapy, alternative medicine, and non-Western spiritual practices are stigmatized? How does social media, a seemingly mindless activity, sometimes add to feelings of depression and anxiety? Related topics: yoga, meditation; faith/prayer; diet (vegetarian, vegan); exercise; mental illness; treatment; access to healthcare; gender and racial high risk groups for various medical conditions; bias in medicine; pain relief and opioids; facts about prescription drugs; body image; food deserts; junk food marketing; health equity; Science classes; Physical Education class.  


6. Climate Justice NOW!!!

“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.” –Greta Thunberg

We are in the midst of a global climate crisis. Students worldwide are taking the lead in the largest environmental justice movement in history. Climate change is no myth!! How can you use social media to join the fight for climate justice? How can students start at the school-level in creating a more sustainable world? In what specific ways can you promote a more earth-friendly school community or neighborhood? Follow us and go green! Related: race, class, and climate justice; urban farms; food deserts; tiny homes; recycling, composting programs in school wide; Science class.


7. MY BODY does NOT belong to Anybody!

“If you prick us, do we not bleed…”-Shylock, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice

All human bodies should matter, but often some do not. How can we protect girls’ and women’s rights to their own bodies? How can we acknowledge the “body supremacy” that deems black and brown bodies expendable in our culture? How can we assure that we don’t exploit the bodies of some for the profit of others? How can we support people who feel they are born in the wrong body? This workshop seeks to restore our respect for all human life. Related Topics: #metoo; intersectional feminism (race and gender); reproductive justice; police racial brutality; exploitation of laborers; social class; human trafficking; prison industrial complex; LGBTQIA+ exploitation and abuse; transgender identity; US History; US Supreme Court/Justice System.


8. #MyStoryMatters - LGBTQIA+ Youth and Allies Share Their Stories

This affinity group workshop will center on the school experiences of LGBTQIA+ teens. We will discuss how to start an affinity group for non-binary students at your school and how to advocate against heteronormative school culture as a student leader. We also will take a close look at how we are represented in popular youth media. How can we write our own narrative about gender non-conforming youth using social media outlets? Come to this brave space where you can be yourself and share your journey with people who get it. Related topics: starting an affinity group; transgender school policy; coming out; intersectional identity (race/ethnicity, religion, and LGBTQ); activism; social class; all kinds of families; gender inclusive schools; student life; starting school clubs.   


9. UNBECOMING-- No More Labels and Checked Boxes

Presented by Glenelg Country School, Ellicott City

This workshop will navigate the road to selfhood against all the odds. How do you self-identify? What are your defining attributes and affinities? How do these differ from those that the world imposes on you? How do people at your school perceive you? Does the bias/prejudice of others hold you back at school? How do you portray yourself in social media profiles? Becoming your authentic self is a journey, especially when labels and stereotypes seek to limit our growth and individualism. Come to this workshop to shed “unbecoming” and inaccurate labels in order to evolve into your best self. Related topics: implicit bias; prejudice; stereotypes; social media profile; identity development; Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming; US Census 2020; Ban the Box (ex-offender justice).


10. We Don’t Play That! Disrupting School Sports, Extracurricular Culture, and Traditions for Greater Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Should I stand for the National Anthem at my games or take a knee in protest, as I would like?  Should I try out for the play despite the history of racial typecasting in my school’s productions? Why aren’t there more plays by and about people of color featured in annual school performances? Why are there so few people of color on my school’s Yearbook committee? Lacrosse, golf, and field hockey have a distinctly white, upper/middle class following and player composition; while basketball and football have a diverse fan base but mostly African-American players. Why is this true both at school and in professional sports? Prom...why so white, hetero, and cis? Commencement attire…why so gendered?  How can I be a part of this community when the extracurricular activities, sports, and traditions are so loaded with bias, exclusion, and myopia? Whether you want to be a player on a team or want to be in the school play this workshop about how to improve diverse representation and engagement in school life is for you!



11. Family Ties: How Family Culture Influences Our Sense of Self

Do you fit your family’s cultural mold or model of an ideal child? Does your family know or understand the real you—beyond the cultural expectations?  Do you struggle with generational differences in values at home (your family may seem old-fashioned, for example)? We have seen in the news how some families have used their privilege to break college admission rules in order to give their kids an advantage. What do you think the role of a family should be in the life of a young adult? How do you overcome conflict with your family in constructive ways? How can trusted adults (especially teachers, counselors, advisors who share your background) at school aid you in having hard conversations with your family? Through shared stories, we will explore our connections to our families as we come of age. Related topics: multiracial families, racial/ethnic family values, religion and family, LGBTQ youth/families, divorce and separation, single-parents, adoptive and foster families, transracial adoptive families; multigenerational households; large families; only child; family pressure; international students; diverse hiring in schools; culturally relevant counseling.


12. E-Race the Pressures and THRIVE!

Presented by St. Albans School and National Cathedral School, Washington D.C.

Racial trauma is REAL and it can affect student academic performance and mental health. More often than not, we do not realize that we are under this type of stress. When we do not perform well in school, we simply think we are just not smart, ill prepared, depressed, tired, or lonely. In many cases, we shut down because we do not understand what is happening, and we are not comfortable going to anyone at school for help. This workshop will examine scientific research findings regarding the neurological, psychological, and physiological effects of minority stress on students of color and those from other marginalized groups, including women and LGBTQ people. How can schools locate their own institutionalized systems that reinforce race-based stress (and similar forms of trauma for other stigmatized groups)? How can schools help students from underrepresented and underserved groups to thrive despite societal pressures? Related topics: culturally relevant counseling; Science class curriculum.



ADULT breakout session

Dr. Lisa Williams, Executive Director of Equity and Cultural Proficiency for Baltimore County Public Schools and author of "When Treating  ALL the Kids the SAME is the REAL Problem."

Dr. Williams captivated our teachers as a guest speaker at the BSDLC retreat. She returns for our conference to lead an interactive discussion and presentation of concrete tools for teachers, administrators, and board members. She will highlight essential considerations for schools in their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work including:

  • Eurocentric pedagogy and content
  • Equitable evaluating and testing
  • Data collection (quantitative and qualitative) for measurable outcomes
  • Exploring Whiteness
  • Demographic shifts in the public and private school landscape…and more! 

Her book will be available for purchase and signing. This workshop promises to help schools raise the bar not only for how they serve students of color, but also for how they serve white students. In the end, no child should be treated the SAME as any other; personal relationships and understanding of ALL students’ backgrounds is vital to effective teaching.





To register a group of faculty and/or students, one person from your AIMS member school MUST be officially logged in.


All adults and all student participants (including planners) MUST be registered.



Fee for all attendees: $75 


Registration will close on November 5th!

  • This program is for HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS and faculty/staff/administrators/trustees (K-12) only. 
  • Parents may attend if schools register and pay for their participation (school will be billed).
  • Please make sure to indicate adult (faculty/staff) or student on registration form. 
  • Registration fees are the same for adults and students (including student planners).
  • Please be sure to register everyone attending from your school.
  • Light breakfast and lunch will be included.
  • AIMS schools will be billed by AIMS AFTER the conference for all attendees.

Please note that NO REFUNDS will be issued for cancellations for this class after October 26th. 



Consent to Use of Photo / Video / Audio: Registration, attendance at, or participation in AIMS meetings and other activities constitutes an agreement by the registrant to AIMS’ use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the registrant or attendee’s image or voice in photographs, videos, electronic reproductions, and audio of such events and activities.


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