Tahoma emphasizes the importance of representation
By Monique Contreras
Representation in communities has been hard to achieve for many minorities. Some feel like they aren’t represented enough or at all. At some schools, there aren’t any clubs that represent community for a certain race. That was true at Summit Tahoma prior to this school year.
At Summit Tahoma, several clubs are now brining forward issues that must be fought in order to create change. Regarding race, there are two clubs in particular: Latino Student Union (LSU) and Asian Student Union (ASU). These two clubs focus on problems that surface regarding their race and what they can do as a community to try and make a change.
Raul Valdez Mendoza, a senior at Summit Tahoma, is a co-leader of LSU. Mendoza said, “I believe that LSU acts as a place where people can learn more about the Latin and Hispanic cultures, as well as how we as a culture aren’t so different. LSU also affects our community by bringing into light what real problems Latino and Hispanic communities face in a modern world; as well as teach us how to create a system or improve the system we are in to incorporate us to be more represented and how we should be perceived in the eyes of the public.”
Valdez hopes that this club can be the start of students having an open mind about their culture, and he hopes that students can get involved in celebrating their culture in a non-offensive way that doesn’t rely on stereotypes. For example, he said it’s too common to see people in stereotypical costumes involving sombreros and that the culture is more complex than that.
Valdez also hopes that through club events people will earn a glimpse of the problems the Latinos and Hispanics are going through, whether here in the United States or in their original country.
Another Tahoma senior, Diep Nguyen, also has co-created a club: ASU. Nguyen shared that the purpose of the club was to have people “learn more about our Asian identity and learn more about where Asian Americans stand in society. Not only that, I wanted this club to encourage Asian Americans to be more empowered and be leaders.”
Nguyen also shared that, “The Asian community is definitely underrepresented because of racism. People have a certain perspective of what ‘Asian’ means and who that would be. They connect certain stereotypes and have that stuck in society. It also doesn’t help that many Asian Americans don’t speak up or even care to have representation.”
Although both clubs honor a different race, they have a similar goal: to be represented and to take away stereotypes that are not true. In each club, there isn’t a community but a family, and this family is willing to accept others who want to learn about their culture and ancestry.
Representation doesn’t start out of thin air but from oneself. With these clubs at Summit Tahoma, it can be inferred that the families they have created will get their representation if they stick together and keep being willing to share their culture with others.