Ethnicity clubs promote diversity

Josh Tae, Staffer

LOHS can be a difficult place for people of color. From a census taken in 2019, the city of Lake Oswego is 82.8 percent White (Non-Hispanic). As a result, many students, with the support of our staff, have created clubs to act as a safe space for kids to meet and find peers with similar backgrounds and experiences.

Two years ago, juniors Alicia Li, Kyla Zhang, and Deeya Arora and senior Olivia Chi created the AASU, more commonly known as the Asian American Student Union. A year later, junior Andrew Huang joined the leadership team. As a club, they have grown to become one of the largest clubs in our school, which poses problems for finding a large enough space, the right time and the money to host meetings.  But despite these challenges, Arora said, “The staff and administration values our club. Whenever we need help from them they are always happy to help.” With advisor Breck Foster, the club meets every other Tuesday during support seminar and has expanded their club to the black box to fit all of its members. The AASU is welcome to all members, and monthly the club meets for their infamous “Boba Battles.” Arora said, “The idea behind it was to try new boba stores, to support local businesses and to get to know our club members.” 

The Latino Hispanic Student Union was created in May of 2020, and is currently run by Samantha and Margarett Jarquin and Carmen Karsonovich. Samantha Jarquin said, “As a minority group, we do feel like there isn’t a lot of engagement outside of the Latino Hispanic population of our school. Even though we try to advertise across different platforms, we don’t feel fully recognized by the student body.” Samantha Jarquin emphasized the support they have received from Profe. As a union, they have started running a few meetings during support seminars and after school. 

Led by senior Ajialia McClure, the Black Student Union has been around since 2015. She has worked hard to make the BSU a safe place for African American students. She said, “Living in a city like Lake Oswego has taught me that no matter what I say or do, my non-melanated peers will copy or make it a trend, so the BSU is a place where we won’t go viral for being us.” McClure believes clubs like these are important, and given they are Honorary clubs, will never go away. She said, “I personally feel [the administration] should have more student based conversations. The things they are discussing are about us! I also feel they should do more check-ins on their students of color (and I do not mean a damn survey).” 

Lastly, McClure shared a message that applies to all of the students: 

“I’ve said this once and I will say it again: the students who racially bully the students of color in this district could be your kid(s). So please educate your children as well as others and yourself about the basic rights any human should have. I just need this community to trust that us people of color are not bad people, that is only something that is in your own head. It is 2022, change is unavoidable and is going to happen. So join the right side of the history of Lake Oswego and be kind and loving and genuinely happy! Happiness and love are learned and taught, just like hate and sadness. Do better and be better.”