SPCA promotes diversity

Katelyn Weisbrod, Head Copy Editor

The Students Promoting Cultural Awareness club is attempting to showcase diversity and integrate minority culture into the mainstream. The club is open to all and advocates for a sense of love and friendship between people, regardless of their culture.

Members of SPCA are wildly passionate about what they are doing, but with only about 10 members and bimonthly meetings, they have struggled to do everything they would like to do.

Senior Yuzohn Xiong joined the club his sophomore year, the first year it existed. After the seniors who created the club graduated, Yuzohn decided to take leadership. He promoted the club during his junior year, but it fell through because there were few members.

“Starting it was difficult because I didn’t know if there would be enough interest,” said Yuzohn. “I think some kids are scared to share their culture.”

Junior May Xiong was one of the few who got involved last year. She was not discouraged by the lack of interest, but rather driven to try again. She and Yuzohn worked together to promote SPCA more this year.

“This year, we’re just trying to pick ourselves up with little events, and next year we have bigger goals,” said May. “Maybe next year we will have an actual day that is dedicated to diversity and loving who you are.”

One of the little events SPCA tried this year was the Festival of Nations. On May 1, the club joined ELL and international students at the St. Paul River Centre to experience this cultural event.

“Festival of Nations was really cool and different,” said May. “It was decorated really pretty, and the food and everything was mindblowing. I wanted to eat everything, I spent all my money on food.”

Our staff and student climate survey indicated that there are staff in the building that are not comfortable confronting racism in the classroom. Things like that shouldn’t happen in a school, everyone should feel welcome and safe.”

— Kristina King

The experience gave her ideas for next year’s SPCA. She would like to have more events involving cultural foods, traditions, games and clothing.

“We can incorporate all those things into a day that is all about spreading diversity,” said May. “And maybe we will go to Festival of Nations again, and have people sign up who aren’t necessarily in SPCA so they can experience it.”

Counselor Kristina King is the advisor for the club. She helps the members brainstorm and implement ideas. Like the students, she is extremely passionate about diversity.

“Most students will say they hear racial slurs daily walking down the hallway,” said King. “Our staff and student climate survey indicated that there are staff in the building that are not comfortable confronting racism in the classroom. Things like that shouldn’t happen in a school, everyone should feel welcome and safe.”

As the club grows over the next few years, they will continue to combat intolerance and discrimination. As King put it, a culturally aware school would be highly supportive. “You wouldn’t hear derogatory slurs, you wouldn’t have students coming in upset because they feel alienated due to their race or their background, and there would be minorities represented in all areas of the building.”

SPCA is not trying to advocate for any single ethnic group, but rather would like to see all students respecting each other and enjoying one another’s company, regardless of ethnicity.

“I want to eliminate the things things I hear in school, like the n-word and all that,” said Yuzohn. “I want to have people be comfortable hanging out with other races. Everyone has their small, little group, and everyone is so isolated from each other, even though we all go to the same school.”

As the school year is winding down, SPCA is looking forward to next year. The club is mostly comprised of sophomores and juniors, so it will likely be much stronger in the years to come.

“Next year our biggest goal is teaming with other student organizations, to add to whatever happens in our school to make sure that the diversity flavor isn’t lost,” said King.