New Cultures Club Goes Beyond Diversity
November 19, 2019
The new SRA Cultures Club hosted its first school-wide event, inviting Malik Sterrett, assistant director of multicultural student affairs at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, NY, to begin a conversation with SRA about diversity and inclusion.
Students Respecting All Cultures Club (also called SRACC or SRA Cultures Club) was formed over the last several months, and student representatives from each class were invited to serve as its steering committee. Club advisers are Steve Vargas, director of campus ministry; Dan Richard, principal; Malaina Murphy, guidance counselor; and Linda Michalczyk, international student coordinator.
“We want to bring our school into a new era of diversity,” said senior Hajin (Christina) Cho. “I hope we can understand and appreciate the benefits of diversity that we are given at Saint Ray’s. I'm slowly seeing students who might not have put any thought into other peoples' culture or heritage start to engage and ask questions and try to act with more sensitivity towards one another. I think that is a good start!”
Sterrett began by asking students to think of a time when they felt excluded. Students were brave in talking about their experiences, sharing stories that were familiar to all, despite students’ race, gender, or socio-economic groups.
Recognizing that SRA is a diverse community, Sterrett challenged students to ask themselves—are you inclusive? Being inclusive is different than being diverse, he explained, stating that school should feel like a home, where you are welcomed. He asked students, “How are you making others feel comfortable in situations?” and gave suggestions of how to respect and discuss others’ differences, such as not raising your voice and watching body language.
“You don’t know what the next person sitting next to you is thinking, what their triggers and scars are,” he said. Sterrett shared his belief that people should always be treated with respect, echoing SRA’s own theme for the year: “Give Respect … Get Respect.”
The talk gave students much to think about and continue the conversation.
The SRA Cultures Club’s next event will be a fashion show in April, to feature cultural fashion and entertainment. Students who are interested in helping with the show should contact an SRA Cultures Club member for information.
SRACC Steering Committee