Schreiber Celebrates Equality Day


Helena Franchetti, Staff Writer

In an effort to raise awareness about issues in the Schreiber Community and the world at large, students from several clubs created and gave presentations for Equality Day on March 24.  A few of the clubs who were involved included the Women’s Empowerment Club, the GSA, and Full SupPORT.  Topics included raising awareness about cultural appropriation, intersectionality, LGBTQ representation, and mental health. 

All of the presentations took place in the Schreiber library, and the chairs and tables were rearranged so rows faced presenters.  One of the first presentations given at the Equality Day event was on cultural appropriation.  The aim of this presentation was to inform students and staff on the topic of discrimination and some of the guidelines for what is and is not considered culturally appropriate clothing.  A few of the many examples that were included in the presentation were people dressing up as Native Americans, and the westernization of bindis.  

 “People fail to recognize that someone’s culture is not a costume to be worn for Halloween and is not something we should see westernized by the music and film industries,” said freshman Liesha Sewani. 

Another presentation was given by Full SupPORT, which is a club focused on mental health.  The presentation was about the stigma surrounding mental health illnesses and the help and treatment that is needed.  

¨For Equality Day, we gave a presentation on the importance of maintaining mental health just the same as you would physical health, and destigmatizing topics such as self care and mental health,¨ said senior Rachel Nissan. 

The Women’s Empowerment Club also participated in the Equality Day celebration, with a presentation inspired by a STOP conference which some of the club’s members attended virtually.  STOP stands for Students Together Opposing Prejudice, and it is an organization which looks to inspire students and communities to bring attention to bullying, bias, and prejudice.  The club’s presentation focused on the idea of intersectionality, which is an analytical framework for understanding how someone’s social and political identities combine to form different experiences of discriminiation and privilege for every person. 

¨We wanted to share what we learned with the school, and this topic was perfect for Equality Day.  Our presentation covered intersectionality and women’s movements that represented and demonstrated intersectionality, and through activities and reflections, we allowed the students to think about their own identities, ¨ said senior Sadie Mandel.  

One of the activities that the Women’s Empowerment Club had their listeners do was to stand up when they recognized a name that was read.  The club found that most of the audience did not recognize the women, whereas the majority of the men were recognized by the audience.  Later, the club’s leaders passed out worksheets for the students to fill out; students were asked to write down different parts of their identities and times when multiple parts of their identity intersected.  After, the students’ responses were discussed as a reflection to help people learn more about their personal identities and intersectionality.  

A later presentation was given by the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) on the topic of LGBTQIA representation in the media.  The goal of the presentation given by the GSA was to raise awareness on the negative representation of the LGBTQIA community on social media and in the film industry.  One form of negalive representaion mentioned in the presentation was queer baiting, and the club used the example of LGBTQ characters in shows and movies as positive forms of representation.  One example was Bubblegum and Marceline from Adventure Time.  

¨I believe many people still do not understand or respect the LGBTQ community so spreading awareness about how it is seen on social media and how it is represented is extremely important,¨ said freshman Tai Abrams.  

During the day, there were additional presentations given by various clubs to raise awareness on current day social issues and health topics.