by Meghan Aslin
Photo by Abbie Ryan
Meet the newest club at SMS: MoSAic. Learn about how this club works, how it got started and why it took so long.
MoSAic, an acronym for the Minority Students’ Association, is one of St. Mary’s newest student-led clubs. As a whole, its objective is to educate others on appropriate terminology, provide a safe space for students to express their views and feelings that could be frowned upon in other environments, and teach each student how to listen to one another.
In the first MoSAic meeting held Sept. 11, the general sponsors, Reverend Bush and Mrs. Parker explained that there are three main goals for the club: creating affinity groups, raising awareness, and changing the world. Students who associate themselves with a certain minority group will join together and create small affinity groups. Students in these close-knit groups can support each other while sharing stories about the hardships they face. MoSAic plans to reach out and raise awareness through fireside chats and book clubs through the help of their respective sponsors. Reverend Bush added, “As for changing the world, the club is going to start with promoting compassion and understanding.”
There have been some students questioning the difference between MoSAic and Diversity Club, but Lauryn Carr (12) explains, “Diversity Club is more centered around cultural differences in the student body, while MoSAic is for the students.” This distinction refers to the different methods the clubs use to celebrate differences. Diversity Club focuses more on unity of the student body, while MoSAic focuses on personal support and discussion in separate affinity groups. Diversity Club hosts an annual dinner, encouraging students to prepare and eat foods of many ethnicities, hoping that the students will learn a little more about the cultural backgrounds of their peers. Meanwhile, MoSAic provides a safe space of support for minority students to come together and talk about challenges that they have faced from being “different.”
Students have been asking for affinity-based clubs for several years, and now the classes of 2019-22 are officially the first who have the chance to join an African-American, Asian, Jewish, LGBTQIA+, Muslim or other affinity group where members will have a safe space to let their guards down and discuss the hard topics.
According to Reverend Bush, affinity groups are forming and electing leaders. The first group to announce leadership was the LGBTQIA+ alliance. In an interview with the co-leaders Kiki Whartenby (12) and Stella McCain (12); Kennedy Hamblen, meeting coordinator (12); Abigail Apple (11) and Olivia Glazier (11), junior leaders; Whartenby discussed the status and importance of LGBTQIA+ progression at St. Mary’s when she said, “In the name of longevity, I believe that the way we student leaders are handling this is important.” Though it may seem slow, the existence of these groups demonstrates that there has definitely been progress. In the past, many in the school had reservations about affinity groups. One concern was that these groups would be exclusive and would segregate students. Other reservations were related to the general stigma that surrounds LGBTQ+ issues. The creation of these groups shows that the school is now supporting students’ desires to speak openly.
With a high percentage of students identifying themselves as belonging to some minority group, students may be disheartened that MoSAic is just now happening. “It’s definitely a good thing that we are starting now. Even if we can’t go back in time, we as a community can learn and progress through this club and these affinity groups” said Ayushi Gaur (9).