What does it look like when a coalition of anti-racist educators take on the task to end racism, discrimination, and inequities in the international school ecosystem?

The Women of Color in English Language Teaching (WOC in ELT) and the Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC) organized their second annual two-day November conference on Saturday, November 13, and Sunday, November 14, 2021. Every session focused on representation, justice, anti-racism, and equity in international schools. The following was the agenda:

Saturday, November 13, 2021 (Eastern Time)
9:00am-9:15am Rama Ndiaye and Nayoung Weaver, Opening
9:15-10:15am Darnell Fine, “Day of Absence”: A Retreat for Communities of Color to Unpack Internalized Racism
10:20-11:00am Ceci Gomez-Galvez, Language Equity: Redefining our Language Learning Practices to Empower Multilinguals
11:05-11:35am Tiwana Merritt and Constance Collins, Countering Savior Mentality: Critical Engagement in Our Local Communities
11:40-12:10pm Xoai David, Persistence – ODIS Collective and the IB, One Year Later
12:35-1:05pm Fernanda Caetano, Fostering Belonging in the classroom through rapport and decolonial perspectives
1:05-1:50pm Sherri Spelic, At Home and Away: Building Connections That Allow You to Thrive Year Round
1:55-2:25pm Dominique Dalais, Conversations with an International Teacher of Colour – Discussions on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism
2:30pm Fandy Diney, Closing


Sunday, November 14, 2021 (Eastern Time)
9:00am-9:10am Abha Kelkar, Aiko Yamakita, Baya Khodja, Constance Leung, Justin Garcia, Kristina Pennell-Götze, Nayoung Weaver, Rama Ndiaye, Tulika Bathija, Opening by the Radical Dreamers
9:10-10:00am Margaret Park and Jessica Huang, Leadership and Intersectionality: How Gender and Race Impact Women in Leadership
10:05-10:50am Joel Llaban, Nurturing the Courage to Lead
11:00-11:45am Leadership Panel moderated by Grace Wilson, Kam Chohan, Dr. Megel Barker, Dr. Erin Robinson
11:50-12:35pm Dr. Fernanda Marinho Kray and Dr. Christine Montecillo Leider, Creating a Space of Our Own: Enraizando Social Justice as Resistencia in Neoliberal Contexts of Education
1:00-1:30pm Ann Marie Christian, Identity, Well Being and Safeguarding our Children
1:35-2:25pm Giancarlo Picasso, Our Purple Couch: The Learning Hub for Gender and Sexuality at International Schools
2:30-2:50pm Mehar Suri, EmoEmpathy: A New Lens of Teaching Anti-Discrimination, Sexuality and Consent
2:50pm Mona Fairley-Nelson, Closing

Joel Llaban Jr’s quote: “Listen to the silence, the silent, and the silenced,” strongly resonated in this conference. The conference was successful in giving voice to those who are often marginalized and de-centered from the mainstream narrative. By empowering and amplifying the experiences of historically marginalized folks, the sessions provided us with ways to stay in our truth in order to do the work authentically. Below is some feedback from the conference participants explaining how they have been inspired to make changes within their ecosystem:

  • I’ve learned so much in this conference, I think that the critical service learning is something I will apply now by bringing it intentionally to my units.
  • There was so much learned over this past weekend. I shared information from Xoai David on decolonizing the IB curriculum as well as the information and Padlet from the lady who presented on languages.
  • Affirmed that silence is not an option. I don’t have to burn stuff down, but it serves no one to allow harm to go unchecked.
  • I continue to hear a lot of resistance to CRT, anti-racism, anti diversity training here in the states. The more I know, it provides me knowledge to help feel empowered to counter their misconceptions.
  • As the language department chair I’d like to bring the discussion about how we, as language teachers, can offer support for faculty in translanguaging and multilingual strategies.
  • I want to review some of the sessions that I missed first and then take some golden nuggets from each one and begin to build my ELT toolbox.
  • My student who attended is keen on a day of absence which would be really interesting.
  • The “Day of Absence” was mind blowing for me.
  • The time together was affirming and uplifting.
  • Healing experiences for teachers, as we cannot serve from an empty plate.
  • The best parts: exchanging with so many diverse people, having a platform to talk about important issues

During this professional learning weekend, facilitators helped participants understand the anti-bias/anti-racist framework authentically. The gathering was a platform for educators to reflect, learn and discuss ideas focused on lived experiences of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within international education. The powerful weekend of teaching and learning instilled that, as members of the international school ecosystem, it is our profound duty to create a more sustainable world rooted in love, compassion, and restorative justice. Educators collected the tools necessary to confront and actively participate in dismantling deeply rooted systems of oppression to liberate future generations.

We offer our deepest gratitude to our presenters, moderators, partners, and attendees. To find out more about WOC in ELT, please go to https://womenofcolorinelt.wordpress.com/. To find out more about AIELOC, please go to http://aieloc.org/.