The Multiracial Student Union may be new to Garfield this year, but it is already fast tracking progress on many social issues within the Garfield community: and beyond.
At Garfield, it can be hard to choose which of the vast array of clubs to make time for each day. For many students, the Multiracial Student Union stands out. On Wednesdays at lunch, it is a place to have important conversations about pertinent social issues, and connect with other students who share the similar experience of being multiracial in America.
Started just this year, seniors Alexandria Storm, Yasna Vismale, and Sakke Overlund were looking to create a club that would serve important purposes here at Garfield.
“First and foremost, we definitely wanted to make a community. We wanted to have them stick together and stand up for one another, to know who the other multiracial people are and share experiences with each other,” said Storm. “But also to educate people on issues they may not even realize they face.”
In a typical club meeting, they cover topics anywhere from the impact of the presidential election on minorities, to the Dakota Access Pipeline, to people’s personal experiences. They discuss videos, news articles, and sometimes play quiz games with prizes to encourage participation. Freshman Declan Murray describes these conversations and activities as free form; everyone is encouraged to speak up and join in.
“A topic will be brought up that is relevant to Garfield, or relevant to race, or relevant discrimination,” said Murray. “And we’ll just have, almost like a class discussion, but within the club.”
The club has successfully fostered a supportive and pleasant environment for multiracial students. Most students who come to the club identify as multiracial, but everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, is welcome to attend. In fact, many “monoracial allies” join in on the fun.
The club has already received great responses from Garfield students, and is full of students every Wednesday.
“We were surprised by the amount of excitement people have,” said Storm. “People are now so prideful in being multiracial, where as before [at Garfield] there was a culture of silence.”
For Freshman Declan Murray, this platform to voice feelings and opinions about being multiracial has been a huge benefit of the club.
“The discussions are something that as a multiracial person are a lot of things you think about,” said Murray. “But don’t really get the chance to voice, and having somewhere to voice and talk about that is really nice.”
Beyond Garfield, the club has received attention in the Seattle community by being covered in the local news including KOMO and The Stranger. Although Storm and the other leaders are seniors, they are optimistic that the club will continue on and are proud of the progress already made.
“There are so few conversations on a national scale about multiracialism,” said Storm. “Of course we would love to have a bigger impact, but we’ve definitely had an impact so far, even by just being present and voicing ourselves.”