Intersectionality Board members Hediyeh Jortani (12, MST) and Rahaf Alrefai (12, MST) prepare to host at Intersectionality night  Friday Dec. 8, 2017
Intersectionality Board members Hediyeh Jortani (12, MST) and Rahaf Alrefai (12, MST) prepare to host at Intersectionality night Friday Dec. 8, 2017

Manual’s Intersectionality Board hosts first ever Intersectionality Night

Manual’s new Intersectionality Board hosted the first ever intersectionality night in Manual’s auditorium on Friday. Manual is the only high school in JCPS to have an existing Intersectionality Board comprised of eight heritage, culture and social awareness clubs.

“The night is an event to have and showcase what intersectionality is,” Sarah Korssa (12, MST) said.

Korssa is a founding member of the Intersectionality Board, representing The Refugee and Immigrant Support Initiative (RISI).

The night opened with a speech from Quintez Brown (12, HSU), President of Manual’s Black Student Union. Brown spoke about recognizing intersectionality, and understanding what it means.

“As a black man, it’s easy to leave other black groups out such as black women and black gays,” Brown said.

Brown explained that a demonstration from Kimberle Crenshaw, the woman who coined ‘intersectionality,’ about the dismissal of black female victims of police brutality made him realize the importance of intersectionality.

“At that moment I realized that they were being left out of the conversation, I knew I had to push this concept of intersectionality,” Brown said. “If we don’t, a lot of people can get heard because they are basically invisible.

Black Student Union from Robert Spencer on Vimeo.

After speaking, Quintez Brown introduced Ruth Peters, a junior at the University of Louisville and older sister of Manual student Mycha Peters (9, HSU). Ruth read a poem titled “Here’s To.”

Representing the Muslim Youth of Louisville (MYL), Angelina Atieh (10, MST) and Nadeen Almadi (10, J&C) delivered a speech about stigma surrounding Muslims and other minorities in America. The MYL advocate professed that the stigmatization of Muslims has developed into a new and overlooked form of segregation.

Muslim Youth of Louisville from Robert Spencer on Vimeo.

Mayukha Bhamidipati (9, MST) represented Girl Up—a club focused on social issues that affect women.

Girl Up from Robert Spencer on Vimeo.

The Gay Straight Transgender Alliance (GSTA) had a dual presentation. The first featured a poem written by Eli Pajo (11, J&C) that was accompanied by a violin piece played by Jo Rodgers (10, YPAS). The second half of GSTA’s presentation was a slideshow presentation given by Akwelle Quaye (12, HSU) and Everett Hall (10, HSU) raising awareness about overlooked homicide and violent crimes against transgender men and women.

For the Student Mental Health Advocacy group, Anthony Taylor (11, VA) read a personal essay about the struggle of living with manic depression.

Student Mental Health Advocates from Robert Spencer on Vimeo.

Women In Science and Engineering presented a skit that exemplified the multiple ways that women are discriminated against in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field careers.

WISE from Robert Spencer on Vimeo.

Another two part presentation, The Latin American Hispanic Student Organization opened with a Spanish lullaby sung by Lorena Powell (10, HSU), followed by a presentation by Tori Vestal (11, YPAS).

Sarah Korssa held a demonstration with Netra Rastogi (12, MST) and Sophia Pascua (9, YPAS), concluding Manual’s first ever Intersectionality Night.

Refugee and Immigrant Support Initiative from Robert Spencer on Vimeo.

The first Intersectionality Night was planned by students. Rastogi, also involved in RISI, played a larger, more conceptual role in organizing Intersectionality Night.

“We organized it mainly for two reasons,” Rastogi said. “First, to introduce the Intersectionality Board to the school and basically get the word out about who we are and what we do. Second, we wanted to make sure everyone knows that if they are having issues with diversity or inclusivity, whether it be in the school or not, they can come to us for advice, help, etc.” 

Another underlying goal was affirmation of the student body. The goal of intersectionality night was a combined effort to educate and support heritage and culture clubs at Manual.

The Intersectionality Board has also received support from school administration.

I didn’t really do anything except help facilitate the amazing young ladies that put so much time and energy into this event,” assistant principal Mr. Kuhn said. “So I don’t deserve any credit for it. I want to work with them moving forward and make sure that the board has opportunities for leadership. They asked for a seat at the table and I think everybody deserves that opportunity.”

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