The Diversity Club Prepares for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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By: Nithya Balakrishnan

If you happen to be after school on any given Wednesday, take a peek into Mrs. Posey’s classroom. You’ll be guaranteed to find a group of passionate students discussing, creating, planning, organizing, and preparing for many amazing events that take place at Northern High School. This group is the Diversity Club, comprised of students from all grades, ethnicities, racial backgrounds, and talents.

The Diversity Club’s goals are simple but aspirational:

  • To talk about issues of race, religion, ethnicity, gender in a larger forum;
  • To organize and plan events for the school to help everyone learn about different cultures and walks of life;
  • To create a more tolerant and loving atmosphere;
  • To educate on important issues;

The club is student-led with students coming up with ideas and planning and putting these thoughts into action. The teacher advisors are Sue Vanderveen and Angela Posey.

The club has its origins dating back to almost 20 years ago when current club advisor Vanderveen started the club as a way to introduce students to other cultures.

“It actually started as the Multicultural Club, about 18 years ago. Personally, I’ve been interested in this type of work. So I started this club and a lot of students were willing to come. We did forums and groups and had a lot of international students involved as well,” says Vanderveen.

Since then, the Diversity Club has been responsible for events such as the International Fair, Diversity Days, Martin Luther King Day activities, blood drives, and various other outside events that Diversity Club members attend. The International Fair is a favorite among students and faculty, with club advisor Angela Posey saying, “I love the fair because you can see students’ passion come through.”

The next event is Martin Luther King Day, scheduled for February 1st. Abby Zhang, junior representative on the board, who is helping plan the activities, is looking forward to it. “Preparations for MLK day are going smoothly so far! We are planning something similar to last year’s and including student speakers, so I hope everyone enjoys it and also takes that day as a learning opportunity.”

Moving forward, the Diversity Club hopes to continue improving. One thing the advisors would like to see is a better balance between events and conversations.

“Part of what we want to do is create an ongoing discussion of understanding each others idea,” says Vanderveen.

Posey adds, “I would love to see a better balance on working on events and working on ourselves. It’s about how do we educate people to listen to each other even if you don’t agree. It all starts with learning how to talk about controversial things.”

One of the major points everyone involved wants to reiterate is that everyone is welcome to attend the Diversity Club. Pop in to East 11 on any Wednesday and join the conversation.

Zhang says it best: “For next year, I hope that even more students not only attend but put efforts to help spread the word about future Diversity Club events. All are welcome!”

Disclaimer: the author of this article is on the board of the Diversity Club and is involved in the planning of the MLK day activities

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