Students at Southington High School are working together in an effort to become more culturally open and aware and some say these conversations are especially important right now.
Students in the Intercultural Competence Committee put on a new program that promotes peer-to-peer conversations by having teens lead the classroom discussions.
It comes at a time when two students in Simsbury recently made headlines for a controversial photo that appeared to show teens in blackface. It also comes months after an investigation into a racist video a Southington High School student made in December.
“It's very important to talk about diversity. Questions of identity and cultural identity specifically, because with the demographic we have here it's important that all students of all backgrounds can reach across that divide and make sure these conversations are being had,” Aliya Sarris, a senior at Southington High School, said.
The lessons are all part of Social Justice Week.
With an investigation into a racist video by a Southington student last year, other students said this week’s conversations are especially important.
“With the video, it kind of makes this week even stronger and may even make it more powerful to students that may have been affected by it or insulted by some of the comments,” Abby Lo Presti, a senior at Southington High School, said.
While Social Justice Week isn’t a response to the incident in December, it is a great way for students to get their peers to open up. The school also brought in members of the Capitol Region Education Council to help.
They are teaching students how to have sensitive conversations about race, immigration, sexual orientation and political or religious differences in everyday life.
“I really like it. I have gotten to know myself better, as well as my peers,” Sawera Saeed, a junior at Southington High School, said.
“We can create a message that it's OK to talk about issues like this whether it’s in public or in private,” Jio Rodriguez, a junior at Southington High School, said.