Sustaining change within the student body
October 13, 2022
Lately, multiple student groups have formed to initiate conversations about the racism students face in the district.
The AAPI Student Union was created towards the end of the 2021-2022 school year to be a safe space for AAPI students and advocate against Asian hate. “We’ve done a lot of work with a community organization called [the Edina Asian American Alliance], especially talking about policy 506, talks of disciplinary policies,” Mirza said. “We worked with the community to run a college-career panel which destigmatized college applications and [put] forward Asian students.”
Mosaic is another group looking to provide a platform for people seeking change in Edina. “A lot of it is informative in the sense of, Edina has the stereotype of not doing much to better diversify themselves,” Mosaic co-lead Shayaan Gandhi said. “Showing some of the students that there are opportunities to get involved and this is the work that clubs of our school are doing.”
Mosaic’s primary goal is to increase diversity and inclusion throughout EHS. The group works closely with administration, specifically Assistant Principal Michael Pretasky, in order to carry forward their agenda.
“Mosaic is really focusing on the district-wide scenario, we’re going into elementary schools,” co-lead Ashlee Kalair said. “I think what’s important for Edina to solve these issues is to start young and start in the elementary schools… we have to teach them young because those habits are going to go into high school. And that’s why all of this is happening in our school.”
In the past few years, EHS’ Black Student Union had similar ideas to bring students together. “My goal for BSU is to create a welcoming environment and healthy outlet for Black students at the high school,” BSU President Almaaz Braasch said. “[W]e can establish a designated place where we as students can interact with each other in [an area] where we feel our voices are heard and valued.”
Edina also houses plenty of student activists in various groups like Edina Truth, which was formed to shed light on inequitable student experiences through EHS and holds other events independently.
“I really would like to see more teachers having harder conversations with students,” Thomas said. “Avoiding the conversation means that they’ll avoid the conversation as adults. And just because it’s uncomfortable to have the ‘this is wrong, this is racism’ [conversation].”
Regardless of the city’s racist events, people believe there is hope. “[Racism in Edina is] just oftentimes kind of swept on the cover,” Pollard said. “But I’ve seen us break the stereotype multiple times…I’ve also seen us live up to the stereotype multiple times.”
Efforts continue to be made by students, administration, and the city but in the end, it’s up to the individual people. “We always talk about Minnesota pride. You know what I mean? Go Gophers, stuff like that,” Thomas said. “But we’re not honest with ourselves. And I think that when we’re honest with our prejudice and what has happened in the past, we can work on moving forward in the future.”
This piece was originally published in Zephyrus’ print edition on Oct. 13.