Gunston Students Attend AIMS’ BSDL Conference 2022

Baltimore Student Diversity Leaders Conference 2022

Back Row (L-R) Ezra Lillie ’25, Mia Walker ’25, Julia Buchanan ’23, Angelina Lin ’23, and Cassie Miller (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Baltimore County Public Library). Second Row (L-R) Ms. Kate Larrimore, Josie Merton ’24, Evelyn Russ ’25, Ellie Hodge ’25, Lilah Wharton ’26, and Alayna Thompson '26, and Dr. Ryan Asprion. Front Row (L-R) Spencer Mulford ’25, Annabelle Sinatra ’24, Taylor Rainer ’25, and Sydney Dare ’26.

Submitted by Ms. Kate Larrimore

On Saturday, November 12, Dr. Asprion and Ms. Larrimore took 12 students to Sandy Spring Friends School for the Baltimore Student Diversity Leadership Conference, a high school diversity and equity leadership training event that is planned by and led by area high school students. BSDLC elevates and empowers 9th-12th grade students predominantly from AIMS schools, especially those whose identities do not always experience belonging. 
 
Through keynote speakers, student-led workshops on pertinent topics, and many opportunities for participants to share their voices, BSDLC creates a day of learning, affirmation and lasting connections. The theme this year was “Our Renaissance: Exploring Identities and Healing through Community,“ with 226 students and 54 faculty/staff from 35 different schools participating including our very own Annabelle Sinatra ’24 running a workshop on reproductive health! 
Annabelle explained, “In this workshop, we discussed the reproductive rights of everyone. In order for us to all heal as a community, everyone deserves access to education, privacy, choice, and equality, and should have a say in their own reproductive health. We want to focus on how this affects marginalized people and how we can help correct injustice in the system. We hope to have inclusive discussions that help us understand what Reproductive Equity really means.”
 
Overall, we had an excellent day, starting strong with our Keynote speaker Unique Robinson and ending with cross-community connections and learning experiences that will last our students for years to come.
 
Student Perspectives:
 
“I personally thought that everything was well put together and amazingly organized. Everyone, including staff and facilitators, was so welcoming and overwhelmingly nice. I enjoyed the community and the many friends I made while in each workshop.” - Josie Merton ‘24
 
“I really enjoyed listening to all of the speakers. It was really cool to learn about the Quaker values and how those translated to the school we were at. I also really enjoyed the keynote speaker, and their commentary on making change. My first workshop was Activism: Going beyond the black square. One of my first observations was how good all of the students in the workshop were at being vulnerable. We were able to talk about how performative activism can be hurtful, but then we were also able to expand the conversation when people in the workshop admitted that they had done it before. We also talked about how we can increase activism and change in schools, and how to do that, which I thought was really powerful. My next workshop was the reproductive rights one. Going into this workshop, I was a little unsure of how much I was actually going to learn, because I've been following the battle for these rights for a pretty long time. However, once it got going, I was really pleasantly surprised. The presenters were really educated on the topics they were speaking on, and how they affected communities. They brought up statistics and legislation that I had never heard of, and the way they translated that onto the effects of people was really well done. (Shoutout to Annabelle Sinatra for being a leader in this workshop, really well done). My last workshop of the day was Respecting Identities 101. This was my favorite because the conversations went really well, and I feel like it was the most interactive. We talked about stereotypes, how they affect us, how we can change them, but also about why we buy into them a lot of the time. It was really nice to get all of the student's perspectives on stereotypes they found/have been subjected to, and also learn where we can educate ourselves more on how to break these stereotypes. - Julia Buchanan ‘23
 
“I attended three different sessions, standing in Solidarity against LGBTQ+, respecting identities 101 and creating positive change for the environment. I had lots of fun seeing old faces and many many new ones. As well as listening to the keynote speaker Uni Q. Mical. It was super empowering and memorable.” - Angie Lin ‘23
 
“I saw and heard my peer's stories, whether about what they have endured or how they strive to help change a community for the better. I learned how to take a stance in my community and to help create environments where voices of change are heard. The day and the diversity of people truly revealed perspectives to me I am grateful to now see.” - Taylor Rainer '24
 
“The BSDLC conference is a place of support and fun. Being a core facilitator has been amazing and very rewarding, and everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. I have really enjoyed putting together and presenting a workshop that educates people and spreads awareness!” - Annabelle Sinatra ‘24
 

  • Abigail Houseknecht
  • AIMS
  • Angelina Lin
  • Annabelle Sinatra
  • Baltimore Student Diversity Leaders Conference
  • BDSLC
  • Cassie Miller
  • Elijah Lilly
  • Ellie Hodge
  • Josie Merton
  • Julia Buchanan
  • Kate Larrimore
  • Lilah Wharton
  • Mia Walker
  • Ryan Asprion
  • SDLC
  • Spencer Mulford
  • Student Diversity Leaders
  • Taylor Rainer