Colorado Youth Diversity Conference

Join hundreds of teens and teachers from across Colorado on Saturday, March 26, 2022, for a unique and powerful day planned entirely by and for students.

Student mariachi band performs

At its inception, eighteen schools gathered for what has now grown into the largest diversity and inclusion conference in the state of Colorado. In 2020 (our last in-person event) we were pleased to have 101 schools and organizations participating, with a total attendance over 1,100. This day-long conference is the only statewide conference dealing with issues of diversity and inclusion entirely planned by and for students.

COVID-19 Update: This event has been postponed until Saturday, March 26. Contact us with any questions.

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COVID Health and Safety

We are very aware and sensitive to the challenges of hosting a large event during the COVID-19 pandemic; at the same time, we’ve heard from students about the importance of keeping the program in-person and not going virtual unless absolutely necessary.

In order to keep the event safe for everyone, we will be requiring that all attendees (including all students, educators, workshop presenters, volunteers, and guests) provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19 OR proof of a negative COVID-19 test dated within 3 days of the event. Faculty advisors/chaperones do not need to collect this information from your students; we will take responsibility for checking this for every person as they arrive.

Anyone who cannot provide documentation of either vaccination or a recent negative COVID test will not be admitted to the Conference venue. These guidelines are similar to those of large concert venues and sporting arenas, and we are taking cues from these types of events as well as public health officials in making this decision.

Additionally, everyone will be required to wear a mask while indoors. We are working on adjusting the schedule for “mask breaks” outdoors throughout the Conference day. We hope these requirements will give all attendees comfort that they can join us for an inspiring and powerful day without risking their health or the health of their loved ones. If you have any questions or concerns about these requirements, please feel free to contact us.

Keynote Speaker

The YCD Colorado Student Board is excited to announce this year’s keynote speaker, Inoke Tonga!

Inoke is a full time kidney healthcare worker, as well as a full time volleyball coach in Denver, Colorado. His recent story of discrimination as a gay, Christian man within the education system caught the attention of major news outlets, magazines, podcasts, and even the Ellen Degeneres Show. Inoke will share with attendees his thoughts on intersectionality, having multiple identities that sometimes may not be seen as compatible by others, and developing the courage to stand up for your full and authentic self in all situations.

Who Should Attend

The Conference is open to all high school students and supportive teachers/adults from across Colorado. In particular, this event is a great opportunity for groups such as:

  • Diversity or multicultural student clubs
  • Student councils
  • Peace/conflict resolution-focused organizations, including PeaceJam and Interact
  • Religious student organizations interested in exploring interfaith dialogue and positive social change
  • Clubs celebrating specific student ethnicities, including Black Student Alliance, Latinx or Hispanic student clubs, Native/Indigenous student clubs and others
  • Gender/sexuality-focused student groups, including gay-straight alliances
  • Female empowerment student clubs
  • Peer counselors
  • Deaf students and their allies, including ASL signing clubs
  • Disabled students from all backgrounds
  • Creative writing and performance student groups, including poetry, spoken word, hip-hop, dance and other clubs
  • Students from a local youth organization, even if they attend different schools
  • ANY group of teens interested in improving their school’s culture or making a positive change in their community

Venue and Directions

The Colorado Youth Diversity Conference will be hosted by Cherry Creek High School; you can find directions to the event on Google Maps here. Make sure you enter the campus at the intersection of Yosemite Street and Campus Drive. You can also download a PDF copy of directions here. The Cherry Creek High School campus is very large and has multiple entrances, not all of which will lead you to the right place. Please follow these directions to ensure you enter campus and park in the right spot.

Schedule

We fill the conference day with numerous opportunities for students and teachers to discuss, engage and explore the topics that are most important to them. Click any portion of the day below for more information. You can also download a printable version of the day’s schedule.

Arrival and Parking / 7:30 – 8:30 am

We urge everyone to arrive as early as possible.  If your group is not traveling to the event together, agree on a specific time to arrive as a group in advance. Note attendees are required to enter the campus off Yosemite Street and Campus Drive; you can find directions to the event here.  Once parked, follow the balloons to enter the West Building near the clock tower.

Diversity Fair / 7:30 – 10:30 am

Each year we invite dozens of colleges, universities, post-graduate programs and the military to join us the morning of the conference for our Diversity Fair.  On their way to breakfast, attendees will walk past the tables with representatives who are available to speak with high school students about their commitment to diversity. Students and faculty advisors may take as much time at the Diversity Fair as interested. The Diversity Fair is also free and open to the public!

Breakfast / 7:30 – 9:00 am

We provide a light breakfast, including bagels and cream cheese, yogurt, fruit and muffins, as well as water.  Participants are then ushered as a school group to the main auditorium to register.

Registration and Morning Entertainment / 8:30 – 9:30 am

Faculty advisors register their schools as they enter the Fine Arts building; registration takes a matter of minutes. Each school receives a packet containing materials for the conference day, including nametags. An emcee and various student groups from around the state keep participants entertained as we get closer to starting the formal program. Past performers include the Chatfield Jump Rope Club, Northglenn Step Team, the Denver East Angels Drum Line and the Kalama Polynesian Dancers.

Opening Ceremonies and Keynote Speech / 9:30 – 10:20 am

Opening Ceremonies begin with welcome speeches by the conference student co-chairs and educational leaders. Each year the Student Executive Committee works hard to identify and invite a notable public speaker to address conference attendees. In 2020 we were addressed by Lt. Col. Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell, the first Black female jet fighter pilot in U.S. history.

Discussion Groups and Lunch / 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

The first interactive session of the conference day involves informal group discussions of students from all over the state led by trained student facilitators. Students have an opportunity to speak their mind about the social issues they are facing in their schools and communities, and hear from other students from across the state who may be facing similar or different issues. Lunch is served at this time as well. While students are in their discussion groups, faculty advisors meet to have professional development workshops on teaching for equity and social justice.

Workshop A / 12:10 – 1:20 pm

Students and faculty advisors attend a workshop of their choice, chosen in advance.  See a list of workshops offered here.

Workshop B / 1:30 – 2:40 pm

Both students and faculty advisors attend a second workshop of their choice, chosen in advance. See a list of workshops offered here.

Action Planning Meetings / 2:50 – 3:20 pm

All attendees meet back with their schools or organizations for a brainstorming discussion on creating an action project for the second semester. Each school is free to identify whatever issue is most pressing to be addressed, and YCD provides support and guidance as students plan, enact, and evaluate their project.

Closing Ceremonies / 3:30 – 4:00 pm

We finish the day by giving out a community award, viewing a video montage, and hearing from an exceptional musical performer.

Workshops

The 40+ workshops offered at the Conference each year are chosen by the YCD Colorado Board, so that the topics are constantly reflecting the needs, interests, and challenges facing Colorado teens.

Below is the partial list of workshops that took place at the 2021 Conference.  We will post the updated list of workshops for the 2022 event no later than January 2, 2022. Hover over any slide to pause the animation.

Travel and Lodging

In general, school groups within a 3-hour drive of the Denver Metro area can attend the event without requiring overnight stays.

For groups coming from further away, YCD has negotiated a hotel room block with the Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center, located just a few blocks from the venue. The room block covers check-in on Friday, March 25, 2022 and check-out the next day on Saturday, March 26 (the day of the conference). Rooms available include:

  • 1 standard king bed (sleeps 2, includes free parking): $109/room
  • 2 double beds (sleeps 4, includes free parking): $109/room

To reserve a room at the above rates, visit this link on the Hilton Garden Inn website.

Registration

We have reached capacity for the 2022 Colorado Youth Diversity Conference, with over 100 schools and youth organizations officially signed up!

If your group is interested in this work and hasn’t signed up yet, we encourage you to still register for our program YCD Colorado, which will give you access to additional programming during the 2021-22 school year.

Contact Info

For more information about the YCD Colorado Student Board, contact either organizer for the program:

Asia Lyons

Asia Lyons

Organizer – YCD Colorado
Aurora, Colorado
(313) 443-7165
asia@lyonseducationalconsulting.com

Dr. Kinette Richards

Kinette Richards

Organizer – YCD Colorado
Aurora, Colorado
(720) 747-3112
krichards@ycdiversity.org

For questions about registration, payment, or anything else, contact YCD’s Executive Director:

Caleb Munro

Caleb Munro

Executive Director
Denver, Colorado
(720) 507-0746
cmunro@ycdiversity.org