‘Diversity Day’ Returns to Celebrate, Educate at NAHS

Jon'nette Kidd, Copy Editor

“United. Loud and Proud.”

That is the motto that NAHS’ 2nd Annual Diversity Day chose to uphold. It’s something that seems to be important to all of the members of their committee, a proverb recited by each as the days leading up to the event tick by.

NAHS’ Diversity Day, originally inspired by Kennett Square High School’s Multicultural and Diversity Awareness Conference held anually, is a workshop-based activity being held here at Norristown Area High School this Saturday, Nov. 17th.

This would be Norristown’s second annual Diversity Day, for which a lot of planning is crucial. Workshops are being held by many different clubs around the school, and speeches by a lot of inspirational people are being written.

Lorena Torres and Jennifer Shahin, each sponsors of UNIDAD, helped to “plan, organize, and supervise” the event. Torres said that she was involved in a lot of the planning of Diversity Day last year, as well, and while the format of the day is basically the same as last year, there are a lot of differences that could make this year’s even better than that of the previous year.

Ruby Herrera, senior and Head Student in Diversity Day, said the same: “While the schedule is the same, we have a lot of different people who are coming to share their stories and participate in workshops. An example would be a Japanese woman who grew up in an internment camp here, who wants to share her experiences.”

Jill Meyers, supervisor of Norristown’s Young Scholars program, also participated in Diversity Day last year. “Last year we presented on grassroots, and how anyone – if you believe strongly enough – can make an organization about anything,” Meyers said.

As Head Student of Diversity Day, Herrera helped to contact potential sponsors, restaurants who might be willing to donate, and those who want to share their experiences or hardships. She also went out into the community to illicit people to come to the Diversity Day at the school.

“Our community is very diverse,” Herrera said. “There’s a bit of every culture and race where we live. And most people think that Diversity Day is only a Hispanic thing that can only celebrate Latinos. But it’s not; Diversity Day was made to celebrate everyone.”

When asked what Diversity Day meant to her, Torres responded, “Sometimes it’s really good to be different, and we like to embrace our diversity…I am an immigrant, and at times some could feel unwelcome in this country, but we are trying to celebrate our diversity. I feel very excited about Saturday, and it’s a very great thing we are doing. I want others like me to feel welcome instead of rejected.”

Although Norristown is particularly diverse, the sponsors recognize true diversity encapsulates more than just those who live within arbitrary boundaries.  

“This year for Diversity Day, different students from different schools are being invited and coming,” Torres said. “While last year, since it was our first time doing something like this, we tried to keep it contained to students at Norristown. So, hopefully more people will come this year.”

Meyers emphasized that a lot of preparation went into their presentation on gender and stereotypes. “The Young Scholars students worked on this presentation for a whole month based on prior conversations we had,” Meyers said. “They researched a lot of data for their workshop.”

Programs like Diversity Day show that education at NAHS doesn’t begin and end in the classroom.  They prove that people of all ages never stop learning, and everyone, regardless of their occupation, has something valuable to teach others.  

“As a teacher, it’s amazing that we have events dedicated to the diverse population of our community,” Myers said. “It makes it very authentic or real. And as a white woman, it’s good that I work here, because I feel more ‘woke’ about different experiences and cultures.”

Diversity Day celebrates and educates the many various cultures and races not only in Norristown but all over the world as well. Join in this Saturaday at NAHS and get educated about the many social issues we face and the variety of experiences that make up our community.

Diversity Day will be held tomorrow, Nov. 17, from 9am to 3pm at Norristown Area High School.  Questions can be emailed to Jen Shahin at [email protected] or  Lorena Torres at [email protected]