By Kate Beeby
The Las Lomas community comes together annually to celebrate Care Week: a week of events and presentations promoting diversity and equity on and off campus. Although Care Week may have looked a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student ambassadors and club leads brought impactful events to the student body and faculty.
Marlene Miranda, a Las Lomas teacher and advisor, said, “I believe Care Week is important for the LL community because it empowers students and provides a space to have a conversation about race and intersectionality with peers and increase awareness of all the issues that surround them.” Miranda oversaw all events and training for Care Week this year.
The week’s calendar included a wide range of events, including the Feminist Society Poetry Slam, BSU Black Panther presentation, the Asian Student Union presentation on what it’s like to be Asian during the COVID-19 virus and Latines Unides hosted guest speaker Dan Reyes. “Seeing these leaders in action is truly inspiring,” Miranda added.
In addition to club-led events, a group of ambassadors led a presentation created by student leaders, with input from the Las Lomas Student EquiTeam, to students and staff. Usually ambassadors lead interactive, in-person activities, but this year the presentations were done virtually. Las Lomas junior, Emma Tashi, said, “Zoom did cause some changes as there were some activities we couldn’t do over Zoom, but we found other activities and discussion topics to do and talk about instead.”
Las Lomas junior, Melina Raffery, commented, “To be honest, I think that Zoom definitely made discussions harder because it is rather daunting to go off mute on Zoom and have everyone watching you, more so than in person. But we still had many great discussions, especially at the CARE week events hosted by clubs.” Ambassadors noticed a decline in participation among students this year, likely due to the Zoom platform, but found faculty more interactive with the presentation. “The staff participated well when we presented the initial presentation to them, they were very attentive and looked like they genuinely cared about what we had to say concerning race in general, and within Las Lomas,” Senior Hermela Desalegne said.
Despite the many setbacks ambassadors faced due to distance learning, they were able to teach and learn the essential lessons that Care Week highlights. “I learned more ways how I can be respectful of other people’s experiences and cultures,” Senior Ashley Cowell added.
When asked about the process of planning Care Week, Rafferty, who is a Care Week Ambassador added, “We wanted to make sure that we did do it this year, even if it looked different, because inclusion is always important, especially in today’s climate where everything is so isolated. Everyone could always use a reminder that they are valued.”
Care Week gave the Las Lomas community the opportunity to discuss current issues and learn about various topics this year through guest speakers, virtual events and activities. Junior Alexis Makarov reflects on the importance of the week: “No matter how much work has been done before, there is opportunity for everyone to continue learning and growing, especially as the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion touches on sensitive topics and individual experiences. Having regular, open conversations is an important part of beginning diversity, equity, and inclusion work.”