The question of diverse representation has risen this October with a month full of celebrating different cultures. Filipino American Heritage is celebrated all throughout the month of October, Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday, was celebrated on October 2, and Indigenous Peoples’ Day was celebrated on October 8. “Cultural representation is important. With different cultures we can learn from them and just be aware. That kind of helps us grow as individuals,” said Oxnard High School senior Claudia Oregel.
The OHS campus has been, for the most part, successful with representing the different cultures in our population and promoting diversity through clubs such as Black Student Union (BSU), Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan (MEChA) Club, Filipino Club, and the Jewish Cultural Club.
Despite all of these cultural clubs, OHS senior Nicholas Lingad said, “I think everyone’s culture is being represented, they’re just not on the same level. […] Living in Oxnard I see a lot of celebrations for Hispanics, but when it comes to being Filipino, I have to go to LA, San Diego, San Francisco, or San Jose.”
OHS junior Cici McDuffy, club president of BSU, agreed that she has not seen a lot of cultural representation in Oxnard or on campus. “The school isn’t really doing anything to promote that diversity, and I do think it’s important.” However, through BSU she has been trying to get the black community together in order to “celebrate [their] heritage.”
Lingad, too, has been able to promote his own culture by being proactive in Filipino Club. “At Jacket Jubilee, we sold lumpia and pancit, and I think that was a great way to get the message out there that there are Filipinos at this school.” He said that they were able to get people to see their food and enjoy it, as well as fundraise the most out of all the clubs.
People of Ventura County were also able to celebrate Filipino American Heritage month at the Filipino Heritage Festival on October 7 at the Philippine Center of Ventura County where there were cultural displays, live entertainment, live dancing, and Filipino food. OHS senior Christine Canonizado, who attended the event, said that it gave her a good experience and a better look into her culture.
The Jewish Cultural Club has just been created this year by OHS senior Josh Cook. “I decided to create the club because many of my friends were very curious about the ins and outs of my religion. I believe that the existence of my club will help to spark a stronger appreciation for Judaism amongst members to then spread amongst other students,” said Cook.
OHS senior Katie Medina, who is club president of MEChA, said that she believes cultural representation is something our community can never stop working on. This coming November MEChA, ASB, and the mariachi band plan to have a celebration for Dia de Los Muertos. “I feel like it gets everyone involved with our culture. It’s an eye-opener for everyone to know what goes on in the Latino community,” Medina said.
Another way our campus is getting involved is through a Culture Week being organized by ASB. Senior Nikki Atashbar said that during this week “every day of the week during lunch each culture will show off different foods or music.” She added, “I think it’s important to have a cultural representation because it truly makes each person unique and one of a kind. I think each culture is beautiful and should be shown off around campus, especially for those who aren’t familiar with it.”
Diversity is an important key to making everyone on campus feel welcome and appreciated. Because of this, throughout the year students should expect to see more events related to cultural representation and creating a more inclusive campus.