Student Creates New Cultural Alliance Club

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Student Creates New Cultural Alliance Club

For those looking to join, the Cultural Alliance Club meets every Monday in Room 115. “We pick a topic before every meeting, usually something current,” said Henry, “and then we discuss it and connect it to things that happen in our school.” (Photo by Phoebe Sessler)

For those looking to join, the Cultural Alliance Club meets every Monday in Room 115. “We pick a topic before every meeting, usually something current,” said Henry, “and then we discuss it and connect it to things that happen in our school.” (Photo by Phoebe Sessler)

For those looking to join, the Cultural Alliance Club meets every Monday in Room 115. “We pick a topic before every meeting, usually something current,” said Henry, “and then we discuss it and connect it to things that happen in our school.” (Photo by Phoebe Sessler)

For those looking to join, the Cultural Alliance Club meets every Monday in Room 115. “We pick a topic before every meeting, usually something current,” said Henry, “and then we discuss it and connect it to things that happen in our school.” (Photo by Phoebe Sessler)

Phoebe Sessler, Staff Reporter

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Junior Arianna Henry founded, implemented and took on the role of acting president of the Warren Hills Cultural Alliance Club.

The plan for the club has been in the works since the beginning of Henry’s sophomore year, but finally came through this year.

“I received a lot of support from my friends and advisors in starting the club because we all agreed that it was an important club to have, but it was kind of difficult to start it.”

Henry has taken collegiate level courses surrounding racial discussions at Rutgers-Camden every week for three years, which inspired her to create the club.

“I developed a heavy interest in discussing those topics with my friends,” Henry said. “I just wanted to create a space for us and anyone else who may want to join.”

About 15 members regularly attend, with Henry as president, and juniors Melissa Carvalho, Hannah Milici, and Kassandra Llanos as the executive board and Kevin Horn as club advisor.

“I’m so glad that in the few weeks we’ve been together, the club has attracted people from many demographics,” said Horn, “and that they can come together and have, sometimes heated, but always productive dialogue.”

Horn said hAe believed in the club’s mission and Henry’s ability to successfully run it.

“We need to be able to have frank and candid discussions about race and ethnicity to clear up misconceptions and to all get along,” said Horn. 

Though inclusivity and diversity clubs exist at Warren Hills, such as the Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA), Henry and some of her peers felt the atmosphere lacked a club focused on racial diversity.

“I thought it was important that our school have a club like this because it’s overwhelmingly white, and everyone is constantly trying to avoid talking about race when it’s a central concept to being American.”

Henry said the overall process working with the administration to start the club taught her to work with adults and command recognition.

Henry brought the club’s founding to fruition while also juggling Advanced Placement and Honors classes, volleyball seasons, Students Against Vandalizing the Earth (SAVE) membership, vice presidency of SAGA, and teenSHARP—a college preparatory course six hours a week.

“Arianna Henry is one of the most driven people I know,” Horn said. “She has been tirelessly working on shaping the club and getting it approved for some time.”

Once in college, Henry hopes to integrate into other ethnicity based clubs and organizations and assume leadership roles in them.

“Most of the colleges I’ve been to and am considering attending have over a hundred student-led organizations, so I won’t have to make one this time,” she said.

Future projects Henry plans to implement in the club include working with clubs like SAVE and finding a Black Lives Matter or American Civil Liberties Union chapter to volunteer with over the summer.

“I’ve been wanting to work with SAVE to plant produce in an urban area because since those places are predominantly black and brown, it’s difficult for the people living there to get fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said.

As for the club’s future, Henry hopes the club will only continue to grow.

“I hope that it continues on after I graduate and the new members continue to educate and empower one another,” she said, “as well as uplift the Warren Hills community as a whole.”