Multicultural Student Club Rebrands Itself as the Multicultural Student Union

MSU+student+advocates+in+MHS+hallways+through+posting+informational+flyers.

Photo Courtesy of Multicultural Student Union on Facebook

MSU student advocates in MHS hallways through posting informational flyers.

Madison Rosen, Spotlight Page Director

The Multicultural Club has been part of MHS for years ever since its founding by Ms. Porter. Since Ms. Porter’s retirement this past spring, the club is rebranding itself as the Multicultural Students Union this year. The club has gained a new group of advisors along with new student leaders: Jacinta Smith (‘21), Emilia Pantigoso (‘21), and Kayla Yan (‘21), who have clear goals for the Union. 

Smith became a member of the Multicultural club her freshman year and found an accepting group of students who “helped [her] embrace [her] cultural identity.” Even when Ms. Porter left, her passion for the club continued and she knew she wanted it to continue. With a new group of advisors, including Mr. Shansky, Mrs. Omoloju, Sra. Lugo, Mrs. Martinez, and Mrs. Ramos-Dries expressing interest in “expanding the responsibilities of the club to host more cultural celebrations and events,” the Multicultural Students Union was formed. 

To Smith, the main goal of the union is “to create a welcoming environment at the high school.” With so many impressionable young students that “internalize the bullying and stereotypes placed on them from elementary school,” the union hopes to “counter the racism and shame that can make students of color insecure.” Pantigoso visualizes a club that educates “both students and staff on different cultures and social issues.” Ultimately the club wants “everybody to know that there will always be a safe space for them at MHS.” 

The union has many plans for this year to achieve that goal, such as “raising cultural awareness through multicultural food days, performances,” and “answering questions about race and facilitating those difficult conversations.” 

They also hope to “organize rallies/protests, similar to what Kayla Yan did to support BLM,” and “reach out to other schools in the district and ensure that no student is ever confronted with the unjust treatment that the boy from the lawsuit faced.” Much of this comes from the fact that the social justice reckoning over the past several months also influenced the decision to form the MSU. 

When it comes to meetings, Pantigoso believes they “don’t always have to be tough conversations, even though those conversations are important ones to have. They can be exciting stories about our cultures and opportunities to help others in the district.” Smith adds, “They can really be about anything but we also want to get students involved in extracurricular activities, so meetings will also be about involving people in outside activities.”

So far, the student leaders have done extensive work in preparation for the year ahead. They have spoken to both staff and students at MHS “on how [they] can make MHS a better place for all students.” Additionally, Pantigoso has “been working with a number of LatinX students to create posters for MHS’s first ever Hispanic Heritage Month.” They are also in contact with a number of local community organizations that are excited to help out as resources. 

The club leaders have provided many ways for students to get involved with the union and the community. The union is currently on multiple social media platforms and has a website where members of the community can find further information on the club and upcoming events. The leaders encourage students to reach out directly to them with questions, “Talk to us. We are here to listen and learn,” says Pantigoso. “Every opinion matters.” 

Right now, the club’s focus is Spanish Heritage Month. There are resources and opportunities within the club available for all students who want to get involved. “Jacinta, Kayla and I want to include everybody who wants to participate even the smallest bit,” Pantigoso encourages. During the pandemic, they plan to connect to members through Zoom, interviews, social media, and individual outreach. They also hope to utilize the Focus Fridays to host in person meetings in the future. 

If any student is interested in MSU, please contact them at their email [email protected]