This year, the upper school Diversity Alliance (DA) has been making a bigger impact than ever before. Now the DA is expanding its influence and projects across the country with its recent founding of the National Diversity Coalition (NDC), a group of 70 student ambassadors across 18 states, working to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the communities of member schools.
The Diversity Alliance Executive Team founded the group in hopes of teaching fellow ambassadors how to promote diversity more effectively in their communities.
“We felt it was important to connect with other schools across the country because throughout this year, we have been working a lot internally to improve our own community,” Fourth Former Vice Chair Roch Parayre said. “We wanted to try to improve communities around the country by offering a space for student leaders to connect, learn from each other, bring back ideas to their own institutions, and have a safe space to express their feelings about DEI issues.”
Fifth Form Co-Chair Quinn Luong said, “I know so many people from the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) who have reached out and told me how they are inspired by our DEI work, but they don’t have the necessary resources in order to do it at their school.”
The idea for the DA to pursue making the coalition came up during meetings over winter break when they decided they would like to expand the reach of the Haverford Diversity Alliance.
“There were first ideas of having an Inter-Ac coalition, then a regional one, but as we kept discussing, the idea of having a National Diversity Coalition seemed inevitable. That is when we decided to finally create it,” Parayre said.
With quick execution of their plan, on January 30th the NDC inaugurated the organization in a virtual meeting with over 40 ambassadors present. This inaugural meeting served as an opportunity for the group to get to know each other, outline the coalition’s mission, and to begin discussions on prominent issues in the student-ambassadors’ respective communities.
“I never expected to have so many students show out, but also come with passion and love. It was such an amazing and accepting space,” Luong said. “Everyone felt included and openly expressed their experiences.”
The executive team plans to use the next meeting to run “101 Workshops” or short introductory lessons on how to employ useful tools like social media, lunch meetings, and petitions to promote DEI.
“We are planning on hosting a workshop session with the ambassadors that will allow for them to learn about our initiatives like our social media account, our Chit-Chat & Chew meetings, and our curriculum and institutional petitions. Hopefully, they will take these initiatives back to their own communities and create positive change,” Parayre said.
The NDC hopes to further its accomplishments and finish the year strongly with an end-of-year nationwide conference in order to bring more students into the organization.
Luong said, “Our ambassadors are going to be leading student-led workshops on topics ranging from transgender awareness, police brutality, to different DEI topics that are not covered in the everyday school curriculum. We wanted to impact the greater community, and we know that through mobilizing each school, there will be an enormous turnout for our conference.”
The DA largely attributes the NDC’s success to the scale and magnitude it has achieved, allowing them to reach further and with more influence than they ever imagined they could.
“The National Diversity Coalition … allows members of different school communities –– including Haverford Diversity Alliance members –– to meet with other students who have similar passions for DEI work,” Third Form Communications Co-Chair Christopher Schwarting said. “It is truly powerful to see such an ambitious and passionate group of young leaders gather to be the drivers of the changes they wish to see in issues all across diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.”
“I realized that the Haverford community only goes so far, so I felt like there was an opportunity to expand our influence beyond the Haverford community on a national platform.”Quinn Luong ’22
Parayre added, “All year we have been working individually as a school, and while [we] will absolutely continue to do so, we wanted to spark larger change. We wanted to affect others who might not have the same opportunity to be a part of anything like the Diversity Alliance, so what better way than to create a coalition that incorporates members from across the country?”
“I realized that the Haverford community only goes so far, so I felt like there was an opportunity to expand our influence beyond the Haverford community on a national platform,” Luong said.
The NDC has already begun to make an impact in schools across the country and is only growing, but the NDC’s young Haverford-based leadership team has also drawn the respect of senior members within the Haverford DA.
Sixth Former Co-Chair Ryan Ngo recognized the truly exceptional work of the young squad.
Ngo said, “The seniors and I could not be more proud of the work these guys are doing at such a young age, and I am looking forward to the changes they can bring to our community as they continue to move through their years in the upper school.”