MultiCulti week spreads awareness of activism through art

The theme: “Activism through the arts.” The vibe: “Celebration and pride.” The overarching question: “What do you value?” This is what Shafia Zaloom, health teacher and MultiCulti faculty leader, wrote to the bulletin board on the morning of Monday, October 19th. Every year, MultiCulti hosts a week in the fall to celebrate, learn about, and discuss different social issues. The festival, according the Urban School website, is meant to be “a celebration of who we are as a school and a way for Urban’s affinity clubs to introduce themselves to the community.” During the week of October 19-23, they hosted activities and forums centered around activism through the arts.

  The MultiCulti group decided to center on this theme of activism through the arts to make the events more accessible. “We want everyone to be interested, whether or not they are interested in MultiCulti,” said MultiCulti member Maia Bruno-BaSaing (‘16).

  Kenzo Weiss (‘17), a member of MultiCulti, said that as last year’s MultiCulti week, which included  activities such as cross the line, speed dating, and forums, “was really heavy, and there was a lot of internal struggles in the school about people not recognizing privilege,” but explained that this year “is more light-hearted.”

Monday: Activism through dance.

  To kick off the week, Monday’s All School Meeting involved a band and dance group called Samba Funk that got the whole student body on  their feet with Brazilian music and dance.

  “I always like when they do different and cool things during All School Meeting,” said Sophie Klein (‘18),  “I really liked the entrance they made because I wasn’t expecting it.”

  During lunch, Martin Austin (‘16) led a forum about dance, and how gender and size impact dance perception.

Tuesday: Gentrification and social action through murals.

  On Tuesday, Gwen McLaughlin (‘16), Michael Springer (‘16) and Bruno-BaSaing led a forum about gentrification in San Francisco and social action through murals. Students and teachers discussed their opinions on San Francisco murals, primarily in the Mission District, that illustrate opinions about current issues. They closed the meeting with ways in which the Urban community can take action, which included getting to know your neighbors, being politically active, and being a conscious shopper.

Wednesday: Dia de Los Muertos altar.

  On Wednesday, students prepared a Dia de Los Muertos altar, which was celebrated on November 1st, with photos and candles to remember those who have passed away. Daniela Sweet-Coll (‘16), an open member of MultiCulti, who has an altar at home, said that having one at school is like “having a pillow in a classroom, something that makes you feel at home.”

Thursday: Faculty Activist Panel.

  On Thursday, various visual, performing, and literary art teachers spoke on a panel regarding how activism and social justice exist in their fields. Many teachers spoke about how they incorporate activism in their classes and in their individual art pieces. Abby Lim-Kimberg (‘16) said that “it was really compelling because I strongly believe in the power teachers can have over their students.”

Friday: Potluck and Photo Shoot.

  MultiCulti celebrated the end of the week with a potluck and photo shoot in the backyard.

  Many of the topics will be revisited during Month of Understanding in the spring, another  event put on by MultiCulti. If students were unable to attend any of the events, the presentations for the dance forum and activism through art forum, are posted online on Chalkup.