Commentary: Archer’s Diversity Day is Important

Haley Kerner March 2, 2014 Comments Off on Commentary: Archer’s Diversity Day is Important
Commentary: Archer’s Diversity Day is Important

On Jan. 29, 2014, Archer celebrated Diversity Day.

Going to school in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles is amazing, but puts a lot of us, including myself, in a “bubble” that is not easily escaped. Many Archer students shop in the same places, eat in the same places, and live in similar neighborhoods. It is truly special that we set aside a day, even if only a day, to take a step out of our own situations and look around at others.

Diversity Day is set aside for appreciating the diverse community in which we live. According to Rebecca Joseph, college counselor, “Archer is one of the most diverse private high schools in Los Angeles” in terms of the students’ backgrounds, and we take pride in that. I had always been aware of some kinds of diversity around me, but not others. I  noticed the physical diversity without understanding the diversity underneath the surface.

In the morning assembly we played a game where everyone stood up and sat down based on the topic that they most identified with. I stood up and sat down for the ones I knew about but when it came to a category called “Private Identity” I was conflicted. “Private Identity” consisted of anyone who identified with something that made them different that was more private, such as if you have divorced or separated parents, if one of your family members passed away, or if you have problems in your home life.

Ever since that category has been mentioned, I have looked at diversity as representing the person as a whole instead of how they look or how they act.

The first seminar that I went to after the morning speaker was about foster care. I have been very lucky to have a stable family who loves me, and I did not know much about the foster care system except from what I have seen in the media. During this workshop, I heard firsthand about the life of an extraordinary woman who braved the foster care system until she aged out at 18.

I had heard sad stories of the foster children who spiral and get into drugs and alcohol once out of the program. Not this woman. She completely turned her life around—she now has a great job and feels like she is giving back to other foster children.

During her seminar, I realized that I not only had not known about the foster care system, but I also had not made an effort to find out about a system that is very important in this country.

For those of you who decided to stay home, you missed a great day. I know you may all be thinking, “Well I have done this every year. It’s boring, and I don’t want to sit through seminars all day.”  What you may not be thinking is, “I could learn about someone or something who is completely different and who may even impact my life someday.”

Diversity Day was created to educate us about all of the diversity in Los Angeles and the world. The stories that people share are inspiring to everyone who listens. We get to peek into someone else’s life—someone who has gone though hardship, or just someone who has experienced difference firsthand—and understand the world better.

I believe that Diversity Day is an important part of the Archer message to its students and I definitely look forward to it every year.

Featured Image: Diversity Day presenters in the Archer courtyard    Photographer: Kendra Casey ’16

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