LHS Hosting First Annual Diversity Week

Savanna Winiecki, Staff Writer

The third week in February will be Diversity Week at LHS. To help express this idea, a film festival will be held from Feb. 21-23 in the library after school. This will be available to any student or staff member interested, at no cost.

Dr. Brenda Nelson, Prevention and Wellness Coordinator, was one of the organizers of the week. She wants to “talk about things that are substantive, that are really going to impact kids’ lives when they get outside of Libertyville, things that they’re going to face, and how [the committee can] bring that into a sort of rich discussion and dialogue here, because when [people] take on topics that are sometimes maybe thought of as sensitive topics or ones that many people may want to shy away from a little bit, [people] continue to take those on with some courage.”

Diversity Week is run by a group of student volunteers who will picked three films, “Real Women Have Curves”, “Arranged” and “Trouble the Water”, to present to the public and organize student responses to these films. Lola Akinlade, an online editor for DOI, is the student coordinator for Diversity Week. A professor of social work at University of Illinois helped the committee decide which films would be best.

This is the first year Diversity Week is taking place. The committee thought it was a good way to host a dialogue that didn’t tell people what to think, but rather represent a variety of perspectives when it comes to topics like race, religion and culture.

“We’re just trying to start the conversation … just like talking about [diversity] more because once everyone goes to college, there’s going to be so many people from different countries, some might not even speak English,” said junior and member on the committee, Kylie Rodriguez.

Dr. Nelson, Jennifer Anderson (the G-P social worker) and Amy Wiggins (librarian) have done a large part of the preparation for this week. They wanted to find a group of students who were really enthusiastic about the topic and wanted to take it on the student roles of Diversity Week.

Since this is the first time LHS has hosted Diversity Week, Dr. Nelson envisions this as just a start to a conversation that will continue the same time every year. In future years, this may look quite different, but the committee thought a film festival was a good beginning to start conversation.

“A lot of communities are weighted towards one particular race or ethnicity, but we’re becoming an increasingly diverse society. So regardless of one’s political beliefs, that is the reality of a global society,” said Dr. Nelson. “When we don’t have a real understanding of somebody else’s story who’s different from us, we just naturally have skewed ideas about what that looks like, just based on assumptions formed from a variety of things.”