MSD students from various clubs come together to participate and record a flash mob in November 2019. Photo by Sam Grizelj
Reporting by Ivy Lam, Haley Jackson and Kate Becker
Everyday, society as a whole experiences an evolution in regards to social norms. Whether the discussion is about gender, race, color or culture, the community constantly undergoes upward mobility.
With an uptick in social awareness, two main sentiments have been at the forefront of many minds: inclusion and equality. Inclusion is the act of involving all, regardless of differences. On the other hand, equality is a mentality in which no person or group is better than the other.
Promoting inclusion in any diverse environment is a work in progress for many communities. In Parkland, there have been discussions within the City Commission to add a new board dedicated exclusively to diversity and inclusion to their existing City Advisory Boards.
“I believe all voices are important and everyone should have the opportunity to be heard,” Parkland Mayor Rich Walker said. “Parkland is well-known as a family community and having a young family myself, it is so important to continue to ensure people from all walks of life are comfortable and happy.”
Whether it be offering special city events or listening to their citizens, the City of Parkland aims to bring all their residents together.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas is home to many clubs promoting inclusion and diversity within the community
At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students and staff from all backgrounds are working to create and promote a more inclusive atmosphere. This can be seen through intense discussions of issues regarding marginalized groups, or healthy collaborations on a general basis.
"Inclusivity is critical for a positive school culture and climate," MSD Principal Michelle Kefford said. "In order to promote inclusivity, we are always open to starting new clubs and groups to support the interests and needs of all of our students."
MSD is home to over 82 clubs, with a handful of them being directed towards inclusion of minorities who are often overlooked. Some of these groups include Women of Tomorrow, Gender Sexuality Alliance, Black Student Union, Indian Student Association and Best Buddies.
The summer of 2020 was like no other. Even a year later, the United States continues to be trapped in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed and affected millions of lives. However, during this period, our nation has seen a sharp increase in activism, specifically for racial equality.
After the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, Black individuals around the country decided that enough was enough. With many protests circulating around the world, it was clear that 2020 would serve as the stepping stone to a necessary societal transformation.
People would no longer allow others to mistreat someone because of their race. This societal movement pushed four Black students at MSD to create a Black Student Union. MSD’s BSU prides itself on creating a safe haven for Black students and allies to work together to unite their school.
In addition to the Black Student Union, two juniors introduced an Indian Student Association with the purpose of creating a community where anybody can freely express their culture. While the club is more geared towards people of the Indian community, it also serves as a space where non-Indian members can join and participate in numerous service opportunities.
ISA even hosts many collaborations with other clubs regarding international issues, such as racism, colorism and climate change.
Furthermore, Best Buddies was added to MSD with the goal of forming friendships between individuals with special needs and the rest of the student body. Its goal is to develop great connections and experiences for students affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities and other MSD students.
Although all hangouts for Best Buddies were forced to be virtual, the club is still able to connect and encourage friendships within their group. Whether it be participating in fun activities every week or meeting every month for exciting parties, Best Buddies at MSD continues to make an impact.
For the future, the intent of all MSD clubs is to increase the number of members in order to make a more impactful difference in the community. Specifically, clubs such as BSU, ISA and Best Buddies hope to make a realistic and personal impact on the cohorts they directly work with and support.
On Wednesday, March 31, three influential clubs from MSD will collaborate on a discussion regarding racism. This meeting will feature MSD’s Principal Michelle Kefford and will be hosted by BSU, ISA and Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders.
In today’s society and onwards, MSD and the rest of the community hopes to come together to make Parkland and its enclosures a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming place. With initiative and passion comes great change.