Our view of diversity is all-inclusive.

While most people often associate the word ‘diversity’ with ethnicity, the conference deals with a wide range of topics including cliques, physical and mental challenges, religion, sexual orientation, art and music, gender, socioeconomic concerns, mental health and teenage social problems.

Best of all, the workshops offered at our event each year are chosen by students on the Executive Committee, so that the topics are constantly reflecting the needs, interests and challenges of today’s youth.


Below is the list of workshops to be offered at the 2020 New Mexico Diversity Conference for Youth. You can also download a printable copy of all workshop descriptions here.

Appropriation and Symbolism: Understanding the Case of the Zia Sun Symbol

A group of students sit in a circle.

In this workshop dive into the world of symbols, meaning, and context from a Pueblo perspective. Start by learning about the history of Native American design appropriation through the case study of the Zia Sun symbol on the New Mexico State flag. Then explore your own understanding and use of symbols in a hands-on activity and group discussion.

Empowering You to Prevent Suicide

A group of students talks and smiles.

In this session, participants will gain insight and information into the risk factors students face when it comes to suicide. We’ll debunk some myths and face some hard truths.  The goal? To feel empowered to support ourselves and one another, working toward prevention of suicide in our community.

Finding Balance in Healthy Relationships and Safe Dating

What are the foundations to create and sustain healthy relationships within your community? This workshop engages directly with youth to have a critical conversation on our connections with our land-base, as well as relations with our peers, culture, and everyday interactions. We will highlight the good and bad energies that come as a result of those interactions, followed by an in-depth discussion on healthy relationships, consent, and types of abuse, with the ultimate goal of community mapping and mobilizing.

A Forum for LGBTQ+ Students

A speaker addresses a room of students.

This session will be an informal discussion which will support LGBTQ+ youth and address the challenges they face in New Mexico today. Allies are welcome to attend, to support, and learn with their LGBTQ peers.

Masculinity Redefined

Students in discussion.

We will discuss the roadblocks to healthy manhood, based our society’s “man rules.” We will show how those rules impede physical, social, emotional and psychological health. Finally, as a group we will create solutions for improving health for men/boys. By exploring this important relationship between masculinity norms and health, we can begin to improve the lives of men, boys, and ultimately everyone.

Navigating Diversity Backlash

Student smile and make peace signs for the camera.

Efforts to dismantle inequities can sometimes be misinterpreted for exclusion. This workshop is an interactive conversation about why there is resistance to equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts and how to work through the backlash. Learners will engage in dialogue and activities (role-play is one) to come away with strategies on how to address diversity backlash when they are faced with resistance to their work in social and racial justice.

The Power of Space

We will discuss and share the process of creating our own mental health clinic at the Las Montanas Charter High School in Las Cruces—everything from why it is important to have a space where students feel safe and can relax, to the importance of mental health awareness. We will also give tips and recommendations of coping mechanisms as well as advice on how to help friends that may be going through a difficult time.

Privilege: Who Has It and Why?

Four high school students having a discussion.

When we talk about privilege we usually are talking about the power and advantage that only specific groups of people have, usually because of their wealth or even their race and/or gender, but the conversation doesn’t stop there. In this workshop we will expand on privilege, dig down to its core and explore how we can use it for the greater good.

Race and the Justice System

A group of students sit in a circle on the floor discussing a topic.

We will explore how racial bias shows up in the justice system, and more importantly, what we all can do about it.

Religious Diversity: Working Together Across Differences

Two members of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado lead a discussion with teenagers on religious diversity.

Learn how people from all the world’s religions can work together to create a more just and unified world. This participatory workshop will include leaders from a variety of faiths, and together, we will do more than just talk about religions working together—we’ll get to do it.

Social Justice? Intersectionality? Say What?

Students sit in a circle and discuss.

This workshop is an introduction to what social justice means and how to use intersectionality as a framework for understanding and dismantling forms of oppression. We’ll discuss how to accurately use terms; learn exactly what racism, sexism, cissexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, etc. mean; and how -isms are not a two-way street. There will also be dialogue around the concept of ally-ship and what each of you can do to make a difference. There will be a lot of pictures, some videos, fun activities, and plenty of time to share.

A Student’s Guide to Handling Depression, Anxiety and Stress

A student listens to a classmate.

Students will learn about the neuro-biological basis of emotion, and participate in a positive discussion about depression, anxiety, and stress. Special emphasis will be placed on psychological tools to cope with difficult thoughts and emotions—something that everyone has! Local psychologists will provide you with some useful strategies on how to boost your happiness quotient!

Using Personal Narrative to Decolonize Our Hearts and Minds

Students listen as another person talks.

Participants will share and breakdown the personal narratives that we all hold, starting with our names (where it comes from, what it means) and moving outward to how we talk about ourselves. Finally, we look at how institutions like media, schools, politics, etc. create narratives about young people. This workshop is an exercise in how to identify, deconstruct, and rebuild narratives for truth, power, and decolonization.

What Does it Mean to Be an American?

We will explore the history of the word “American” and how it has changed over time to include or exclude. We will then share more about the work New Mexico Dream Team and others are doing to support undocumented students and immigrants in New Mexico today.

Youth Homelessness in New Mexico

Two students engaged in a discussion.

After an overview of homelessness in New Mexico, we’ll discuss different factors that commonly lead to teens and young people living on the streets.  Most of all, we’ll talk about shifting everyone’s perspectives to see homeless people as people first.  Inclusion means all of us, including the homeless.