story by Emily Tully and Aaleiah Winford
At a time when the nation needs it the most, a new organization has formed within the confines of Jeffersonville High School: a club celebrating and embracing the diversity of our school.
Formerly known as the Black Student Union, now called ‘For the Culture,’ the club had their initial meeting on Aug. 15. The group’s initial goal was to promote a better understanding of different cultures, and raise awareness of diversity.
‘For the Culture’ started as an idea from senior Jakayla Bendermon and junior Tyra Malone, which gained support from foreign language teacher Suzanne Siebert, before finally becoming an established club at Jeff High.
“First and foremost, we strive to be a club that’s very inclusive, and to get as many people as we can involved,” Siebert said of the club. “We want to build a community of like-minded students with the goal of supporting one another and becoming future leaders.”
For the first meeting, roughly 40 students, along with Siebert, gathered together in C104 to discuss issues that affect different races in their daily lives, based upon their surroundings in today’s society. The club also brainstormed ideas towards getting involved in school and community projects.
“My goal (for the club) is to empower students to be future leaders, produce awareness for things that are happening in our society,” said Malone, the club’s vice president. “I feel that it’s amazing on how many people came.”
As the posters around the school state, ‘For the Culture’ is not just for black students. The club welcomes all races and genders, in addition to anyone who has an open mind or wants to learn about cultural differences.
However the young club has already faced struggles early in their tenure at JHS.
Some of the struggles included remaining inclusive, yet embracing diversity within cultures. For the Culture faced this issue after discussion regarding the club’s former title, the Black Student Union.
Bendermon, president of For the Culture, explains that the name change was purely an act that supports the union’s idea of inclusiveness.
“We simply decided, as a whole, to change the name, for the culture,” Beldermon said. “‘For the Culture’ represents something that we all can relate to.”
Jeffersonville High School is made up of more than 2,000 students, and is full of different orientations that make the school diverse. One of the club’s main goals is to educate students about the varying cultures within the student body.
“We really want to bring all the cultures together and educate one another on the different humanities that we are surrounded by every day,” Beldermon explains. “A big part of our union is providing a safe place for anyone to talk about their feelings and problems regarding themselves and their lifestyle, and express themselves without repercussions or judgement.”
Anyone that attends Jeff High can join ‘For the Culture,’ as it’s open to all colors and creeds. In fact, the club’s officers encourage all students who are interested to join for a meeting.
For anyone that is weary of the idea, Siebert urges those who have dispositions to come as well.
“Come on in, we’re going to have a good time,” Siebert said. “We have a lot of events planned, such as guest speakers. Please join us for one or two meetings in order to educate yourself.”
The club meets every Tuesday, with meeting locations currently varying from week to week.