Emma Burstiner- Contributor
Below, one of our contributors Emma Burstiner will be discussing the importance of diversity. At her school, the Diversity Awareness Club organizes an interactive week of presentations, activities, and more.
Every year the Diversity Awareness Club at my school works hard to put together a week filled with events from both student and outside organizations. These events bring culture, outside perspectives, and people of diverse backgrounds to GHS. Discussions, speakers, performances, and art illustrate the world’s diversity of thought and ethnicity.
The week started on Monday, February 25, with a thought-provoking discussion on the film Hidden Figures. This event was led by student Tiffany Zheng. Later that day, a presentation was given by the Girls Empowerment Club. Charlotte Hallisey (junior), Amy Barratt (junior), Emma Burstiner (junior), Raina Jain (junior), and Jody Bell (senior) spoke about projects they have accomplished to better their communities. Each girl worked towards the unifying message, as put by Barratt, “when we all come together as one, our voices are heard and change is created.” Finally, to end the first day of Diversity Week, the Pender Keady School of Irish dance performed. This is a favorite performance of students.
Following this powerful kickoff, Tuesday was filled with even more inspirational events. The Stonewall Speakers spoke on identity and finding oneself. This was followed by a discussion surrounding “LGBT Around the World” led by the School Gay Straight Alliance Club. The day ended with a moving performance by the New York City Opera. Students were impressed with this performance.
Wednesday and Thursday were equally successful. On these two days, students learned about topics including undocumented immigrants, leadership skills, ways to transform the world, and art from Epic Uno.
One student, senior Lindsey Smiles, attended the presentation from Michael Hernandez and the Center for Immigration. She explained that it was extremely educational and interesting as students were taught the proper vernacular when speaking about illegal immigrants. It was explained that “no person is illegal” as all are “human beings,” so people should say “undocumented immigrants instead.
To finish the powerful week, Friday’s events highlighted cultural diversity and service to others. The New York Chinese Traditional Art Center’s Opera Troupe, for example, performed in the auditorium. Junior Anika Gupta attended the show and stated, “it was an enriching cultural experience, and I am excited that I had the opportunity to attend.” Speakers from organizations such as Unified Sports also presented. Speaker Erin Randall from Unified Sports explained the importance of inclusion extending to everyone in the sports arena.
The finale for the week was the Alvin Ailey dance performance. This world renowned dance company started as an African American group and has expanded greatly. They are well known for their dance “Revelations” as well as other contemporary dances.
When talking with Emma, it was obvious that Diversity Awareness Week makes a lasting impact on all students in her school. She says that by having a week devoted to this subject, the school in general becomes more aware of the uniqueness of other students, and diversity as a whole. We encourage other schools to participate in weeks such as theses to create a more aware and diverse school community.