In the wake of Black History Month celebration, Roosevelt has welcomed Diversity Week. From guest speakers to Rider Time activities, the focus has been on celebrating our differences and bridging the gaps with kindness rather than pushing away with hate.

As a reminder of the progress we have made and the hard work still to come, a Monday afternoon assembly welcomed Eva Abram as a guest speaker. Holding a BA in Business and Public Policy from the University of Washington, Abram writes and performs stories about people and events that have shaped our history, creating dramatic presentations that explore race as a part of her company, Rainwater Storytelling.

“I believe the power of storytelling is universal,” she says in a biography for the Seattle Storytellers Guild. “I’ve been pulled into this world of storytelling and acting because stories have a magical way of showing us the beauty of each other’s culture and the beauty within ourselves. Through my stories I celebrate our similarities — values, emotions, experiences. I also use stories to celebrate our differences — stories as a bridge from culture to culture.”

At the close of Abram’s inspiring performance, she left riders with a reminder: “let’s work to make America as great as it can be for all Americans.”

    With help from both yearbook and newspaper staff, ASR presented activities in all second periods. Paper ‘bricks’ were distributed and students were encouraged to decorate them with what makes them unique. In the evening, Bite Night brought together fourteen of Roosevelt’s unique clubs who had prepared a staggering array of foods. This annual event is always a favorite and this year was no exception, inviting community members as well as students.

    Once again, students were treated to an activity during Rider Time, only Wednesday’s involved class discussion. Some students were hesitant at first, but questions concerning Roosevelt’s climate and inclusivity sparked the attention of many. In light of events occurring across the country and right here at home, ASR’s discussion themes were designed to promote the bridging of gaps in our community. As sophomore on ASR, Jaelyn Johnson says that “celebrating diversity at Roosevelt is really important…because coming from a school that is majority white and has a minority of different cultures, it’s important to acknowledge the minorities in the community and celebrate their diversity.”

To finish the week with spirit and celebration of Roosevelt’s unique community, Friday brought crowds in green and gold to fill the gym for another eventful assembly. ASR”s Directors of Diversity, juniors Nate Koidahl and Natalie Hutson, emceed. The bricks decorated earlier in the week could now be seen forming a bridge between students, representative of our efforts to work together to celebrate our differences, rather than simply overcome them.

    Student performances were not in short supply, opening the assembly with Caroline Brammer singing the national anthem and ASL students signing the Pledge of Allegiance. With inspiring speeches from students on topics ranging from being biracial, to being an immigrant, to not conforming to gender norms, Roosevelt got a glimpse into the lives of very different but equally important members of our community, including Eve Scarborough, Amr Awwad, Jenny Peng, and Gavyn Tomtan. Lively dance performances, ranging from square dancing to ballet, brought students to the floor and even teachers got in on the action, before dance team rolled out their latest competition number. BSU members taught students about the true origins of different dances that are popular today, originating from different black communities who are rarely given credit.

“I feel [at] every diversity week assembly especially, we really want to express the diversities in our school whether it be race, religion, sexual orientation, sexual preference, anything, we want everyone’s difference to be accepted so we can create a more inclusive environment,” voices Johnson.  “Even the [apparent] majority…are diverse in many aspects that are worth knowing about {even though] a lot of people don’t.” Despite the tumultuous nature of this country, Roosevelt students came together to celebrate all the wonderful things that make us one of a kind, through many different mediums.

Photos by: Maya Williams

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