Safe space for multiracial students

Sofia Reynoso, Staff Writer

 According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s 2016-2016 data, 7.5 percent of the high school’s student body consists of multiracial students. A new club known as the Multiracial Identifying Community (MIC) is forming from this growing population.                                                                                                                                           

MIC provides students with a safe space to discuss unique issues pertaining to the multiracial experience.

Meetings are every other Monday around 3 p.m. in room 340. Junior Lena Harris, an active member of the club, said that they are trying to work around varying schedules.

We’re going to be trying in the future to get more meeting times because we do feel like this is an important issue, and we really want to get out there at the high school,” Harris says.

A flyer advertising the club defines their group as, “an affinity group for students and teachers who identify as biracial and multiracial,” and as a place where students can, “discuss their personal experiences with being of two or more races.”

Harris said that one of the reasons the club was formed was because the high school’s curriculum surrounding race is lacking the perspective of multiracial students.

“I feel like we don’t have a lot of representation as of right now in our curriculum or in our school at all. So I wanted to make us known,” Harris said. “We’re growing, we’re here.”

Senior Carina Feeney is another member of the club and said that those who are multiracial are often struggling to find their place.

I know there are a lot of clubs at the high school that support students of color, but I think what happens with students who are multiracial is that they don’t really know where they fit sometimes,” Feeney said.

According to Feeney, multiracial people are also sometimes defined by only one of part of their racial identities.

“I think a lot of the problems that happen with race are how you look and how people perceive you. So I think the biggest thing with people that are multiracial is that people see you and they don’t see the two sides of who you really are,” explained Feeney.

New member sophomore Ellora Daley said one issue she faced as a young girl was being asked often why her parents looked different than her.

“When I was younger, a lot of the kids at my school thought my mom was my nanny because we didn’t really look like each other,” Daley recounted.

Associate Dean Brian Poon is one of the advisors of MIC and said that although these multiracial students share similar experiences, each student has a different background.

“The unifying experience is that we are multiracial, and while some of us have had similar experiences, we are also all individuals with different stories,“ Poon explained.

The group is still sorting out their main goals for the year but are considering having a block at Asking for Courage (the high school’s day of assemblies dedicated to race-related issues), fundraising for trips or for charity, having events with parents and other possibilities. Their main goal, according to Lena Harris, is to build a supportive community among multiracial students.

“One of the main goals is to first build a real community,” Harris said. “We will all know each other by name and know about each other’s lives.”

MIC has only had one meeting this year so it is all very new, according to Feeney. As a junior, Feeney only knew a few students, but she already feels the connection among the students.

“I think we all have this common connection of being more than one race and being multiracial; just that alone created some sort of connection which made it easier to talk about personal experiences,” Feeney said.

Feeney said that as a result of joining MIC, she has learned more about different racial groups and is beginning to engage in activities around the school pertaining to race.

“After I got involved in MIC, I started to become more involved with other race issues around the school,” Feeney said. “I think I became more aware of different racial groups.”

Feeney’s message to multiracial students at the high school is to accept all parts of one’s identity and to encourage students to discuss their experiences.

“You’re not fit into one. You’re not categorized as white or whatever other ethnicity you are. You are unique and something special,” Feeney said. “I think that it is important that there is a place where people can talk about their experiences.”