The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

What Does an Identity-Based Club do at WIS?


The Latinx Student Union (LSU) is a club that represents the Latinx-Hispanic community at WIS and celebrates the diaspora’s cultures. This club is wrapping up its first year at WIS, and is part of a recent emergence of  3 identity-based clubs in the past two years.

Identity-based clubs at WIS largely discuss different identifiers and cultures represented in the school. Their function is important because minority students might not have representation in the wider community or curriculum.

The LSU is an identity club based on race and ethnicity. The WIS student body currently is 12 percent Latinx/Hispanic but events surrounding students casually using slurs last year made many of the Latinx upper school students feel the need to talk about their identity.

“At the time that we were creating [the Latinx Student Union], there was a lot of stuff going on in the Latinx/ Hispanic community that was like pretty relevant and a lot of [Latinx students] just wanted to talk about it,” one of the leaders of LSU, Vanessa Schor, said. The clubs offer space for students to celebrate their identities and share their experiences with others.

Story continues below advertisement

LSU in its first year made many contributions to the WIS community and plans to help larger areas in the next year. They had an assembly explaining their club and meeting schedule. They raised funds for the club through bake sales and a Coffee House. Next year there are plans to continue to raise funds to provide relief for families that were separated on the United States/Mexico border.

WIS now is taking important first steps for creating a safe institution for students, and the identity based clubs are a part of the process. The benefit of these clubs is their recognition of people’s identities and shows how the institution is affirming students in their identities.

Mx. Redding, a WIS teacher and CAS coordinator said, “We have crossed a threshold where highschool students feel safer being exactly who they are in their unique identity and they want to celebrate that. And so LSU, in particular, also grew out of that.”

In high school, people are coming into their own identities and having proper development of their identities is affected by the availability to discuss them. So having the spaces like identity-based clubs is beneficial to the development of the students they represent. The students who might not see their identity being  discussed in the curriculum can now feel more included and affirmed in the school.

Ms. Jemsby, the Head of School, prioritizes creating safe spaces for students and lifting any  unfair burden that students feel in the community around identity. “We should allow for [more clubs] because I think this is a community that is built off of a very accepting and inclusive mission. So to the extent that we can allow that to happen, we should and I don’t know if the students’ voice are being represented or not,” Jemsby said.  This speaks to the grassroots effort from students to create these clubs and the leadership these clubs create.

The work behind identity-based clubs is part of WIS’ development into a more inclusive space with more time dedicated to the development of people’s identity. They provide safe spaces where people can learn and rejoice in their identities and recognize the communities inside WIS.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *