One display at a time: Equity Leadership Alliance debuts Community Corner

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By Nishka Avunoori, Co-Webmaster

As students enter the library, a vivid display case decorated with Chinese lanterns alongside African American authored books and inventions greets them, celebrating Asian and African American cultures. The Equity Leadership Alliance (ELA), an association of multiple cultural clubs and organizations, sponsored this display case, part of a new project called the Conestoga Community Corner. 

In November 2021, Shalom Stoga sought a space to display a Menorah for their Hanukkah festivities, but unfortunately, the school did not have a place. Following discussions with district administrators, junior Ayala Snir, president of Shalom Stoga and member of ELA, established a space — a display case in the library entrance.

“Having this display case enriches the student body and allows students to culturally express themselves and feel seen,” Snir said. “All students have the opportunity to enlighten themselves on the vast array of cultural experiences they are surrounded by, simply by stopping by the library and taking a look.” 

Any club or organization can display if they fill out a request form found next to the display case. Each display has accompanying QR codes that lead to PDFs created by that club with more information about that particular exhibit. 

The African American Student Union (AASU) organized a display for Black History month with items brought in by members such as banner flags from different historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), magazine cutouts with African American celebrities and inventions that spotlight Black excellence, the theme for this year’s exhibition in the Conestoga Community Corner. Jaela Eaton, junior and 11th grade section leader for AASU, believes that the display case allows students to represent all parts of the Black experience. 

“The main thing was to showcase all the history that makes up Black history and the things that make the Black experience what it is, and the good parts, not the bad parts that we see all the time in our history books, in our classes,” Eaton said.

The Asian American Culture Club (AACC) exhibited the Lunar New Year, a festival celebrated by many East and Southeast Asians in January or February. Many members donated their cultural pieces, one of them being red envelopes, which social studies teacher and AACC adviser Stephanie Matula believes adds emotional value to the display.  In East and Southeast Asian cultures, red envelopes containing money and messages offering fortune and prosperity are given to young children by older family members. Matula feels that the display case is just a starting point and hopes to represent more cultural groups in the future. 

“I think it’s definitely a good starting point for highlighting diversity in our school district. I don’t think it’s perfect at the same time because there’s obviously going to be a lot of different cultures, ethnicities and religious groups that don’t know and we try to have everyone represented,” Matula said.

Eaton emphasizes the need for students and the community to learn and acknowledge different cultures and their celebrations. Learning about others, Eaton feels, is key to understanding each other. 

“I think that at an affluent school like this with many resources, it’s important to realize that other cultures have a lot to offer,” Eaton said. “It’s important that we take time to listen and understand each other.”


Nishka Avunoori can be reached at [email protected]