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Eastern African association leader reflects on school year

Senior Sulekha Farah proud of club’s progress

Hadeal Rizeq and Makagbe Kuyateh

How do you think the meetings went this year?

“It was OK, but we had a little fallout towards the end of the school year. Some students didn’t pay attention sometimes, and (would attend) just because they don’t want to go to their classes. Also most of the time we talked about political issues, and things that would happen outside of school and how that affected us. Overall it wasn’t that bad.”

 

What are some things you are proud about resulting these meetings?

“We were ‘woke’ —  we were aware of certain things, like things that could affect us later on in life. We make sure we prepare them for (those instances) when we saw things on the news, and in discussion. I feel like that is important, especially when learning about it at a young age. I’m happy I took leadership with a lot of my other friends because as a kid I used to play around, then when I got older I realized I had to focus on certain things. When I took leadership, I felt like it helped me grow as a person and I needed that.”

 

Were there any setbacks? What was the biggest thing you had to deal with?

“Honestly, I would never expect the hijab incident to be something that would actually happen in the school I go to. I would always see it on social media and the news, but for it to happen to people I know, especially myself. I felt like it was a hate crime. This is the part of who I am, who we all are. It wasn’t right because no one (should) bother someone for who they are and what they believe in. When it gets to that level of immaturity and disrespect, it was downright disgusting and not right at all. That’s something that shouldn’t be allowed  because that’s something you’ve grown up learning about. For someone to crush all that down in one simple thing, it’s actually very painful and messes someone up.”

 

How was the organization able to move forward from these setbacks?

“(The) first one with the freshman (was) something I was stuck on for a while because it’s someone’s first experience at a school they’ve ever been to, so that didn’t feel good. This is a school I’ve always had pride in, and it made me really upset . Maybe (I’m) more upset because it happened right after Trump was elected. I just knew that people had all this hate at the minute, bottling up. Finally when Trump was elected, they just let it go, and it’s their final time, and they could do whatever they want. The second time, (we) had to stick to the fact we have people (that) hate (others) for who they are. I guess I have to move on, and whatever God has in store for us, it’s what happens.”

 

Were there any goals you achieved this year? Do you think the club has reached a stance where you see improvement, what kinds and how?

“I’m actually happy I was a leader, and me and my friend organized the Black History Month presentation. I was (also) a part of cultural day, and MSA or AME. I felt like over the years it has grown as much as a group because it started off with a teacher, and now we have student leaders. I feel like we are taken seriously now because at first if you see students it’s not as serious. Now we are actually putting our foot down, and actually worth a lot of things we promised. It’s growing as lot of things (happen), and I hope after I leave the high school, underclassmen kids can start to realize that too.”

 

Do you think the club is coming at a stage where you feel like you are growing and are able to open up about any topic?

“Yeah —  at first I felt like I wasn’t really educated on some topics, and couldn’t really have a say because I wasn’t really into politics. The more I’ve been in the group and the more I see things on social media and and TV, the more I’m interested in the truth, and I wanted to make sure I stay (informed) on the topics. I feel like that made me feel grow as a person, and I can talk about anything, and I’m not afraid what to say.”

 

What do you hope for next year?

“I know every year there are mature students from every grade that can take leadership, and I hope those are the students that will take leadership in this group because I want this (group) to keep going. Chris (Weaver) has been doing a phenomenal job, and I feel like he should deserve all of the (credit) with all of the things has he has been doing with us with our BS.  He has been there for us, and I feel like everyone should be in (this) group.”

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Eastern African association leader reflects on school year