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ERHS speaks out: Intra-Extracurricular Student Voices

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

Poster by Rafaela Trajano

On April 16, students and faculty gathered on Zoom for Eagle Rock High School’s first Intra-Extracurricular Student Voices Conference. The hour-long event aimed to empower students within their interest areas by enabling them to discuss club-specific topics, share resources, and interact through dialogue about next steps with their peers.

The conference was a product of several student voice sessions about allyship and #StopAsianHate. Held exactly one month after the murders of the Atlanta spa shootings, it was centered on listening to student voices, equipping students to share information, and continuing to build community through conversation. In her opening remarks, Principal Keipp highlighted the importance of creating a “brave space,” spotlighting respect, compassion, and engagement.

Following Keipp’s introduction, the conference featured a selection of six 40-minute breakout room panels. Each one was run by an individual student or specific club paired with a faculty co-facilitator.

Poster by Rafaela Trajano

1. Activism Through Arts

Briana Garcia, ERHS Junior, curated a presentation based on the relationship between activism in artwork and how artists can promote activism using their platforms. The presentation began with the song Everyday People by Sly and the Family Stone; the upbeat melodies and lyrics about inclusion inspired an impromptu dance party to welcome everyone into the space.

Following this, Mr.Gudex presented a piece by Patrick Martinez titled “Remembering to Forget”. The artwork featured neon installations with a social justice narrative that inspired dialogue about the meaning, personal feelings, and how artists might include social justice themes into their pieces.

Garcia continued by showing various artists like Yoko Ono, Kurt Cobain, Jasmine Cho, and Amanda Gorman who used their art and platforms for activism and awareness. Putting emphasis on the intersectionality between art and social justice, she concluded with a quote by Henri Matisse, “Creativity takes courage”.

2. Allyship with Asian-Americans

ERHS junior Rafaela Trajano and Principal Keipp led a panel on Allyship with Asian-Americans. The two opened the discussion with an inclusionary, introductory question, “What does ‘Asian’ mean to you?” Student responses ranged from exploring the unique cultures across Asia to stressing the prevalence of the model minority stereotype of Asian-Americans.

“Asian includes many different cultures with many different traditions. We can’t generalize it. It’s a very beautiful, very diverse thing,” emphasized Trajano.

After navigating the definition of such an expansive word, Keipp and Trajano presented “Kaleidoscope World” by Filipino rapper Francis Magalona. The song celebrates the spectrum of race, while simultaneously acknowledging rampant socioeconomic inequity: “So many faces, so many races / Different voices, different choices … Some are rich because of fate and / Some are poor with no food on their plate … Some are friends and some are foes / Some have some while some have most.”