Student-Led Affinity Groups
Part of Brooks School’s ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work is supporting five campus affinity groups: Alianza Latina, Asian Student Alliance, Black Students Union, Gender & Sexuality Alliance and Women Incorporated. The student groups shared their recent accomplishments with alumni during Homecoming @Home's virtual discussions.
Read on to learn what the groups have been up to . . .
Alianza is an affinity group for students who share Latinx or Hispanic heritage.
- Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage month 2020 (September 15 – October 15), the group prepared multiple presentations they shared in Chapel. One included a talk by alumna Cristina Antelo '95 about her experience as a Latina at Brooks. Another discussed the different traditions in Latin American countries (see below).
- Came together for a music-filled Alianza Latina dinner of Spanish food and desserts for all members of the club at the campus student center on a Saturday night (see above).
- Held a Zoom call with Brooks alumni during which current students talked to the graduates about life beyond Brooks, asked questions, reconnected and shared memories.
“We had an amazing Zoom call with alumni. Students had the opportunity to talk to them about life beyond Brooks. They asked great questions and the Latino alumni really enjoyed reconnecting and talking to each other and sharing their Brooks memories.”
Alianza Latina faculty advisor Lillian Miller P’14, P’17, P’20
Asian Student Alliance
The ASA is an association made up of students of Asian descent at Brooks School. Through on- and off-campus events, ASA comes together in a variety of ways to celebrate and support Asian students at Brooks.
- Indian American members of the ASA presented in Chapel to celebrate Diwali and educate the rest of the school on the meaning of the holiday.
- Group discussions during affinity group meeting times. Topics have included: "Coming to the U.S.: Stories of our own and our Parents" and "Born with High Expectations: The Model Minority Myth."
- Sharing on social media. The group runs an Instagram account featuring a Student Spotlight and Famous Asian Figure each week.
- Organized and offered the first annual fall festival event for the whole on-campus community highlighting cultural experiences from different Asian cultures.
Black Students Union
The BSU is an affinity group for any student who identifies as Black, African or African-American. Learn about the meetings they’ve held:
- Opening Meeting: Following an opening-weekend cookout (see photo below), the group hosted “Black Jeopardy!” run by BSU heads Racquel Baldeo '21 and Amma Boamah-Appiah '21.
- Discussion of Breonna Taylor and officers not charged in case.
- General Check-In: “How’s it going overall so far?”
- Presidential Election Discussion: Thoughts, feelings and what is the vibe on campus?
- Post-Election Discussion: Thoughts, feelings, and what’s next?
- Introduction to Circle Meetings, derived from restorative justice circles: The first topic was overall self-care and self-care during break times. Black alumni were also invited to drop in!
Gender & Sexuality Alliance
GSA functions as both an affinity group for anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community and an interest group for people who wish to serve as allies and friends to community members.
- Hosted an ice cream social gathering during a Friday Free.
- Provided support and space for students prior to the election and as it was being called.
- Continued to support LGBTQIA+ students individually.
- Planning for future: Goals include starting an Instagram account to educate and also continue to normalize LGBTQIA+ issues at Brooks, trying to work with Peer Advisors to make sure at least one of them is able to work with LGBTQIA+ issues and hosting movie nights and other events.
Jewish Students Organization
The JSO is an affinity group for Brooksians who identify as part of the Jewish diaspora.
The group provides an affinity space in which to gather to honor Jewish culture and observe the religion. They also teach allies and supporters about Judaism and culture in an attempt to gain visibility in the larger Brooks community.
During a recent Shabbat service, members of the JSO and other students shared blessings over candles, grape juice and challah (shown below).
WINC serves as an affinity group for female identified students to engage in work and discussions pertaining to gender equality.
At regular meetings, the group (shown below and led by Shea Baker '21, Gabi Garozzo '21 and Ryan Winchester '21) met with in-person and virtual students. They discussed issues of equality among male and female groups at Brooks, support for athletics, toxic masculinity, how the school could support everyone more equally and held a special conversation following the last presidential election.