DADYO, Not Just Another Club Activity

photo courtesy of emilea mccutchan

     Students may have noticed DADYO flyers posted around Ursuline’s campus and perhaps wondered, “What is this acronym, and how does it pertain to Ursuline life? Why should I care about it?”

     DADYO stands for Dallas Area Diversity Youth Organization. Bailey Uttich ’20, involved in the African American Awareness club, frequently attends these meetings.

     “Though many people think of it as a club, the African American Awareness (AAA) club is the one that delegates the DADYO meetings, and each school has its own form of a diversity club,” Uttich said.

     Meetings take place on a monthly basis at ESD, Greenhill, Ursuline, Jesuit, Parish, Hockaday, or St. Mark’s.

     “Anyone can attend, not just private schools,” Uttich said. “We’ve had people come from Plano and Lakewood schools, so it’s open to everyone.”

     DADYO promotes inclusion by inviting all nearby schools to participate in its monthly discussions of pertinent societal issues.

     “It is used to show different perspectives, whether racial or socioeconomic,” Uttich said. “Students get to meet others with similar and contradicting ideas and grow their opinions on important current event topics that are affecting our generation.”

     At past events, DADYO has focused on topics such as cognitive dissonance, tokenism and socioeconomic privilege. Most recently, members met in Haggar to raise and dissect issues of cultural insensitivity and “cancel culture.”

     The term “cancel culture” is a form of boycott in response to a public figure  sharing controversial or questionable ideas. If enough people collectively boycott a celebrity, they can potentially damage his or her career.

     Cultural separation and boycotting, however, are just two of the many themes analyzed at monthly gatherings. Regardless of the subject matter, meetings typically follow a structure meant to produce an effective, informed discussion at the end.

     At each DADYO meeting, participants break up into two groups to talk about different topics related to the theme of the meeting.  After discussing their respective topics thoroughly, the two groups switch topics so that everyone can discuss all of the relevant issues.  Finally, the two groups reunite and share their thoughts with each other and the adults present.

     This discussion process encourages students to focus on the specific factors that contribute to a broader issue. By the end of the conversation when the group reunites, they can address the larger issue and support their claims with these findings.

     DADYO helps educate young men and women about the world’s social problems, especially as they currently affect individuals within the Dallas community. Whether discussions pertain to global or regional matters, their consequences could impact this generation’s future if adolescents and young adults disregard them.

     To involve youth in conferences beyond Dallas, DADYO-affiliated schools take their students to the Student Diversity Leadership Conference. The nationwide event gathers high school student leaders from across the United States and other countries as well.

     As a result, it engages students in a larger-scale diversity interaction, providing the opportunity to discuss universal issues and how they reveal themselves globally.

     By facilitating discussion among high school teenagers, this Dallas-specific organization allows young people to gain perspective on the experiences of others, including their peers who may come from different backgrounds. Uttich encourages Ursuline girls to attend meetings because “they are super fun and you get to learn a lot about people’s lives.”

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