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The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

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Dive into Diversity Week

Sophie Hess
Juniors Charlie Wright, Yotam Kariv, Vincent Arbit, and Ori Aloush cut Challah Bread

  PHS ASB, Diversity and Affinity clubs held Diversity Week from April 1 to 5, featuring speakers, activities, and assemblies.

  The week-long diversity celebration included writing kind messages to classmates in the quad and handprints describing students’ identities, the ‘I Am Here’ assembly, and guest speakers Maud Nerman and Amber Johnson.

  “If you are not somebody who struggles with a certain identity or certain mental health issue, but you hear that your friends or someone who’s in your class does, it creates empathy,” said Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Director Jean Takazawa.

    Diversity Club vice president and junior Dahlia Saffouri said she shifted the I Am Here Assembly from last year’s focus on marginalized ethnicities and races to create an assembly that more students could relate to.

  “Considering that Piedmont is majority White, [some students] couldn’t relate to the assembly, so we wanted to add more generalized stories about toxic masculinity and body image, and inclusivity on campus, rather than just focusing on certain minorities,” Saffouri said. “We kept [last year’s stories] because they’re really important, but we also wanted to broaden [the assembly].”

  Takazawa said she felt that this year’s I Am Here assembly was the most impactful presentation of Diversity Week. 

  “I looked around the audience and I really sensed that folks were really listening and paying attention,” Takazawa said. She said students in past years had not taken the assembly so seriously.

  This year, ASB created a Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) committee with roles filled through ASB elections. ASB teacher Hayley Adams said that members of this new ASB committee headed much of the organization behind this week. 

  The new ASB committee aimed to involve students in diversity education, beyond the food and assemblies offered in previous years, to grow students’ excitement and involvement around Diversity Week so students can truly value and appreciate a multitude of identities, Adams said.

 “ASB is long known and seen as just a party planning committee,” Adams said. “[members of the ASB DEIB committee] wanted to change ASB and make it a better class and a better club that reflects more of our growing student body and reflects more about the things that kids really want to see.” 

  President of Diversity Club, ASB social justice liaison and senior Vale Prieto Black said this year ASB began prioritizing service work with DEIB through fundraising events, presentations, and workshops.

  “I think the biggest thing is people are starting to have conversations around diversity and belonging a lot more after every assembly or every workshop,” Prieto Black said.

  Prieto Black said she hopes diversity education continues to be a priority for succeeding classes, and for all students to know they can help the cause through smaller efforts and acts of kindness and inclusion.

  “I hope that people know that there’s still so much to learn and to keep growing,” Prieto Black said. “It should be everyone’s effort.”

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About the Contributors
Clea Villaluz
Clea Villaluz, Staff Writer
Clea Villaluz (11) is a Staff Writer for TPH. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her parents and pets.
Sophie Hess
Sophie Hess, Photos Editor
Sophie Hess (11) is the Photographer for TPH. Apart from journalism, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling with her family.
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