Ultimate Alliance

Students form club to educate, unite school

Tyler Chasteen, reporter

A room full of students of every different race and culture surround senior club president Jasmine Bray. Sitting around a table, the students talk about anything ranging from their own cultures to even race as a whole, but their discussion has no intention to divide. Instead, the purpose of the club is to bring students together.

“We want [the Student Alliance] to be a unification club,” Bray said, “[We want] to have everybody respect each other and the differences in everybody’s cultures and be as one race.”

To most people, the room A163 is synonymous with Content Mastery, a room for students retaking tests or making up work during normal school hours. However, after the school bell rings on Mondays, A163 becomes the home of the Student Alliance, a club working to unify students of all races and cultures.

“I feel like this club will show people what needs to be done, like [at] our last meeting we talked about stereotypes, and each of the different stereotypes within races, and how we just need to erase stereotypes,” Bray said. “I’ve seen people call Hispanics out like they aren’t legal here, and see people say things like ‘You need to go back to your country.’ Nobody was born in America except the Native Americans.”

According to educational assistant and club sponsor Willie King, Jr., the topic of race and culture is often associated with bullying, which is the reason he decided to sponsor the club

“I thought it was needed,” King said. “I know we have a lot of clubs, but we have a lot of people being bullied for being different, and we have people that are just categorizing them. We let them know if [members] are in that situation, and we show them how to get up and get over it, don’t take that to heed.”

King’s reasoning to sponsor the club goes deeper than just his support for racial and cultural causes, however. He sees his fair share of racial talk in everyday life and how it effects the dividing lines between races.

“Just for one instance, we had people talking about race, and race was just one thing, and it was ‘How do you talk black?’” King said. “I never understood that in my whole life. Or, ‘How do you talk white? If you’re black, you’re talking white.’ What is that?”

Bray got the idea for the club over the summer of last year, when she found out about the widespread killings of different groups of people across the country and across the world. She decided that the school needed a club to unify the students, so she asked vice-president junior Lola Agboola to help her to create one.

“We just sit down and have a forum, and just talk about things like that,” King said. “Not only race or bullying, but just different things, and we have fun doing it. Just a lot of clues to get out there and speak out, if they hear things. Put it out on the table instead of keeping it in. It’s caring, caring for students who have been picked on, stereotyped. We just dig into it, and it’s educating.”

Agboola finds that there is a lot of misinformation about people of different origins, and she sees the club as one way to fix that.

“Basically, it’s a club to unite people,” Agboola said. “It’s to educate about racial and cultural things. I found that there are a lot of ignorance to culture that’s not theirs. It doesn’t matter if it’s a white person, black person, there’s just ignorance overall.”

Bray is a senior this year, and with the club being started so late in the year, she can’t help with the club’s future as much as she wants to. However, Bray and Agboola are working together to help decide on the future of the Student Alliance.

“We’re going to try and go do community service and go out and help the community,” Bray said, “So that’s what I see in the future, doing community service projects, and helping out different people no matter what their social status is, or their race. We’re not just black, we’re not just white, we should all live here and respect each other.

Photo by Touchstone Staff
Important input: One of the members of the student alliance gives her view of their discussion as her peers listen on, while others pay attention to a powerpoint presentation.

Photo by Touchstone Staff
Record keeping: Junior and vice-president Lola Agboola passes around a sign-in sheet to juniors Johnny Nguyen and Rachitha Jadala.