The South Asian Middle Eastern Alliance will hold their second annual summit on Thursday, March 23 under the theme “My story, our strength”, focusing on how current politics affect their identity, and how to reclaim it.
“We host summit because we want students to be comfortable telling their stories and speaking about our culture,“ English teacher and Co-organizer Dr. Anita Bucio said.
The summit is a product of the SAME Alliance as an effort to gain more representation and empowerment for South Asian and Middle Eastern students. They also organized the refugee forum along with Dreamers Club in February following Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
“We will focus on understanding how the political climate today impacts us,” Bucio said. “We want to reclaim our stories and feel comfortable talking about who we are.”
The summit will feature organizations like the Asians Americans Advancing Justice and Chicago Desi Youth Rising, both of which empower local youth within the Asian diaspora. Students will move in one large group to hear the guest speakers tell their stories and discuss ways to feel empowered as a minority.
“In institutions like this, where you’re one person in a group of people who don’t identity as you, you become more silent and invisible,” Bucio said. “If people don’t know your story, how are they going to be able to see through your eyes?”
Last year, 60 students attended the summit, and this year that number has increased to 85. The alliance plans to continue the summits and gain steady numbers.
“We want to keep it going and be more responsive to what’s happening with our students, especially with our current political climate” Bucio said.
According to Illinois report card, pan-asian students make up only 5% of our school population. Because these students make up such a small portion of the school, it’s easy for them to fade to the background and have their stories go unheard. SAME students will continue to speak up and break down stereotypes. This will make ETHS a more diverse and inclusive space for all students.