Multicultural Week leads to class discussions and increased appreciation
March 20, 2017
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The Multicultural Club organized an assembly to promote diversity and cultural awareness in school. The assembly featured performances from several different ethnic dance groups as well as guest speaker Gabriel Teodros.
Students clapped along to traditional music as Mexican folklore dancers, Franklin High School’s Somali group and Polynesian dancers put on energetic and engaging performances. Teodros, a Seattle-based singer, artist and writer, encouraged those in attendance to explore their own cultures in order to understand others.
“To heal yourself, you have to know yourself,” Teodros said. “Have meaningful conversations.”
Multicultural Club, headed by President Trinity Cho , Vice President Felicia Pe
laez and advised by Suanne Kauffman, is a safe space for students of all backgrounds, religions, sexuality and genders. They meet weekly to discuss issues faced by the community and the nation, and their goal for Multicultural Week and the assembly was to get others to do the same.
“In a school like Ballard that is so predominantly white, it’s really important to talk about these things because otherwise no one is going to talk about it,” sophomore and Multicultural Club member Marlowe Barrington said. “Unless you are really forced to talk about issues that concern things that you are privileged to, you probably won’t, just because it doesn’t affect you in the same way it does someone else.”
On the four days preceding the assembly, a series of videos created by the club’s members were shown during Daily Academic Management (DAM) time to educate students about issues of race and inform them of the hardships faced by minorities. Students and teachers were supposed to talk about and reflect upon the issues brought up in the videos.
“I think that people did learn quite a bit, because I know that while not all classes watched the videos, the classes that did and the students I talked to seemed like they were having discussions, which is really what we wanted them to do,” Barrington said.
For the second year in a row, the Multicultural Club has presented a successful assembly educating the students on issues of race and ethnicity, and inviting all to participate in a celebration of culture.