To celebrate diversity, you must participate


Elizabeth Posey, Art Director

Multicultural Week is a missed opportunity.

Culture plays a powerful role in shaping lives and societal operations. It informs codes of conduct. It inspires old and new traditions. It can describe both ethnic and social groups.

Looking back to this and past multicultural weeks, it is evident that student participation has declined over time, limiting the quality of this spirit week. Despite the efforts of ASB leaders, students often miss the deeper meaning behind cultural appreciation. Frequently, they fail to participate at all.

It seems as though the only events that gain recognition or real contributors are those that involve food or other incentives.

At Branham, students have adopted a culture of apathy toward school events without regard for the thought and time devoted to plan them. While the few students who participated did find lunchtime activities to be fun, they lost the significant takeaway: These activities were intended to inform, unify and represent Branham students.

It can be easy for students to complain about the quality of this or any similar weeklong event when they choose not to attend forums or contribute to the development of activities. If it seems as though leadership activities are not as informed as they could be, it is more likely due to the lack of outside input than leadership work.

Multicultural weeks and foreign language banquets in years past have found success because they encouraged inclusivity through specificity. Interested students and families in the community reached out to coordinators to share their personal traditions through food, performances and other practices of importance to them. When we choose to involve ourselves in these celebrations, we enrich the broad concept of culture with unique experiences that improve student understanding.

Without valuable student involvement, inclusive events are much less likely to occur. This week is one example of many where worthwhile events lose popularity; students have begun to ignore the activities, as well as the main purpose.

The norm of student passiveness prevents many from enjoying or contributing. If more students were willing to provide their ideas and perspectives, Multicultural Week and other weeks based on significant topics could be more well-rounded and fulfilling.

Students are too hasty to give in to indifference rather than participate in a celebration that could change their outlook on cultural practices and representation. This is, in part, due to the expectation of peers to follow a pattern of apathy. As a result, many seem afraid to participate in an event that few else are active in.

The only way to make events such as Multicultural Week more meaningful to students is through their participation.