In these divisive and lonely times that this year has brought upon the nation, there have been positive and negative moments into 2020.
This pandemic has brought out the good into people and made the people a bit humbler. Unfortunately, it also brings out intolerance, xenophobia, and. just classic racism from people.
With this in mind, there seems to be a strong need for unity among the people. A unity that could help bring us closer together and help each other through this unfortunate pandemic.
It is important that in these times people find the unity that they need. With Covid being out there it has prevented people from going to meetings to talk with people that understand them. It also prevented people from learning about different cultures as well because learning and understanding are what this country needs.
One group in particular that comes to mind was the recently introduced AMEMSA affinity group. AMEMSA stands for Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian, a group that wants to lend a hand to those who are of said group. To provide the unity and support that is needed this year. Alena Edwards, Dean of students at Willowbrook High school, is one of the three leaders of the group who runs it.
What exactly goes on in AMEMSA is that they have zoom meetings as the rising cases of Covid have definitely put a damper on meetings in person. AMEMSA´s first meeting was on Oct. 22. What Ms. Edwards has said is that ¨Our meetings will involve looking at everyday life through the eyes of someone who identifies with AMEMSA. All in all, we are working to create a safe, open space to learn and grow with one another.¨
Not only does it provide advocacy for those who identify with AMEMSA, but the affinity group also welcomes allies that want to learn about different cultures and open up their eyes. This is what AMEMSA hopes to accomplish. ¨We want to promote awareness of the AMEMSA culture, challenges, and successes,¨ as stated by Ms. Edwards.
That is important to notice because the significance of AMEMSA is not strictly limited to a group of people in this unfortunate time. The potential influence of AMEMSA can be greater once this pandemic is over. It currently relies on staff newsletters to spread the word around about this affinity group. Ms. Edwards has said that AMEMSA hopes to up its promotional game and that social media would be a good idea.
AMEMSA is a group that should be on everyone’s radar, as it helps bring knowledge and culture to those who identify with AMEMSA or to those who are just allies looking to learn.
AMEMSA plans to have his next meeting over zoom on Nov. 22 and one to end the year off on Dec. 10. To those who identify as Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian who want support from others or to those allies who want to learn. go to this link and fill out the google form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdaf7pEa1rLpylDCgE7uLIILvfKeDY2TmsUZT69esxB5Ug25Q/viewform
Anthony Perez is a First-Timer Senior in the AT Torch Staff. He chose to take part in the Torch to improve as a writer and to get out of his comfort zone. He decided that was the best choice as he loves the work because he views it as challenging yet fun.