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The Lack of Diversity Within Clubs and Activities at RAHS

The+Lack+of+Diversity+Within+Clubs+and+Activities+at+RAHS

The benefits of extracurricular activities to students are extensive and key to building life-skills that are valuable. According to Crimson Education, extracurricular activities help with finding passions and interests that can be lifelong, help build friendships and social skills, and expertise in things like teamwork and problem-solving.

However, like many things in the world, there is a lack of racial diversity within clubs.  Students and staff members at RAHS also seem to agree.

Making spaces where students feel comfortable and heard is a key factor in building a strong school community. Xavier Bosu, a freshman at RAHS, said “…Having a diverse student body and teaching staff goes a long way for being represented.”

Mỹ Linh Nguyen (9), confirmed Bosu’s claim on the importance of diversity by saying, “If a club or activity is not diverse or is very white, it’s hard to connect when you don’t have people who look like you or people of color in that club. I think diversity makes the culture and environment more welcoming.”

At RAHS there is an extraordinary amount of diversity within the student body. Bosu said, “In general, throughout my life, I’ve always felt like I’ve never seen that many mixed people, but at RAHS, I feel like there’s a lot…”

When it comes down to clubs and activities at RAHS there is an absence of diversity. Mx. Larson and Ms. Westland, teachers and student council advisors, both say “White students represent 57% of Council and 41% of our school demographics.” versus “Black students represent 21% of Council…Asian students represent 16% of Council…Latinx students represent 3% of Council.”

Ms. Robyn Madson, Debate advisor and teacher, said, “I don’t think there was much diversity in our returning team, but we are working on building a strong, representative team…I think debate across the state is striving to be more representative and inclusive of students of color, but we can do better.”

We have to get to the root of the problem, why is there such a lack of representation of people of color or minority groups? Our society has been built to disfavor those of minority groups, and because of how our world has functioned to put people of color at a socioeconomic disadvantage, many students are left with responsibilities that they have to take care of.

“Some students have to work or take care of younger siblings and can’t spare the time. Many groups have financial barriers to joining,” said Ms. Madson.

While responsibilities have an impact on the lack of diversity, there also is another problem getting in the way of students joining clubs and activities at RAHS. Students have reported feeling underrepresented, and that contributes to them being hesitant to join clubs.

Priscilla Agyako, a Freshman, said, “I’m only really in Black Student Union because of the lack of diversity of other groups. I just wouldn’t feel welcomed in those groups…People deserve to see people in groups who look like them in what they’re doing, and when you see a certain group that’s like the majority, you feel left out because you don’t relate to them.”

Mx. Larson and Ms. Westland both confirmed Priscilla’s claim when they said, “If students don’t see students like themselves in the club, they are less likely to join.”

How will we find a way to help students feel represented and create more clubs that include all people?  Ms. Madson said, “I think leaders from the administration down to coaches and advisors need to make a strong positive pitch to students of color and those from marginalized communities to join their programs when they think a kid might fit or do well…We as adults in the school need to embrace inclusive practices in our programs and do better than “we try our best,” if that makes sense.”

It is within our responsibility to build places that have all people and creating a space for everyone. Priscilla said, “I don’t think groups are doing enough to invite people of color. I feel like there is a target audience, and that is not good when you have…the president, vice president, captain, I don’t see any diversity whatsoever, and I feel like it’s really disheartening.”

Nguyen said, “I think in student council there are people of color but the representative board or the executive board does not accurately represent the diversity and the people of color in our school.”

In the world, but more specifically in our school, we must be able to represent those who come from different backgrounds, racial groups, and ethnicities. We have a vast diversity of students, but when it comes to clubs and activities, we have to be able to incorporate different people into the spaces they deserve to be in. We have to be able to invite people to the table and make them feel welcomed and wanted.

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About the Contributor
Aryana Berhane, Junior Editor
Hello! My name is Aryana Berhane, I'm in ninth grade. I am a junior editor for the Ville Newspaper. Some of my hobbies are reading, boxing, watching Gilmore Girls, and drinking pumpkin spice lattes. I am involved in student council, Black student union, yearbook, and debate. I love to write about important issues that are affecting our community and our world. I'm excited to be a part of our newspaper community. Let's get to writing!

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