What is DEI?

The Leaders of the AVH club explain what they bring to the community.

Christiana Cino

When someone mentions DEI, what is the first thing that pops into your head? Is it a positive or negative thought, or do you not know what it means? DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and pertains to various topics, including oppression, LGBTQ+ issues, feminine issues, and racial issues. One of the most critical aspects of DEI, however, is celebrating each one of these topics. Many DEI programs exist in schools nationwide, including in Laguna Blanca. Ursula Chan, DEI Director, describes what her role is on campus.

“My primary goal is to be a person of resource to all of our students, faculty, parents, and alumni, to connect with me on any issues related to DEI and to support and foster this environment and be an advocate for people on campus,” she says.

Chan is a valuable resource on campus and works with students to find solutions to issues. Diversity, equity, and inclusion pertain to multiple topics, including feminine hygiene.
“Student voice is important to me. It is important for Laguna students to feel they can access me and tell me about issues they need help solving. For example, last year, an issue that was brought up was that in the girls bathroom, the pads and tampons were not usable or accessible. That is a DEI issue, and it was brought to me.“ Because of that, our bathrooms are now stocked with environmentally friendly feminine products.

In addition to solving issues, part of DEI is celebrating diversity and people’s differences. January and February are crucial, as they celebrate Lunar New Year and Black History Month.
“Part of my role is to celebrate the diversity that exists in the world and also on campus. January was Lunar New Year, and it is really important to me to celebrate it because it is part of my culture. It was nice to celebrate it on campus to make people aware, when they otherwise would not know how to celebrate it, and to support a local Chinese restaurant,” says Chan.

AVH (All Voices Heard) is a student-run club, and Chan advises it. The co-leaders of AVH are seniors Abby Kim and Jade Silva, who share why they joined the club.

“We realized there had never been people of color in the Student Council president position. That is what got me more interested in DEI stuff. We rebranded the diversity club to AVH so that it would involve Student Council more and be more connected, and we could reach out to more students,” says Abby.

Jade talks about her experience as a woman of color, and her interest in DEI.

“Being a woman of color, I feel like at certain schools, especially in Laguna, since it is predominantly white males, it was difficult to be heard and seen in classroom settings. I wanted to do something to make people feel more comfortable in having their voice heard and not let social aspects like being a woman and being a person of color get in the way of me speaking out,” says Jade.

Last year, AVH hosted a movie night to celebrate Black History Month, and this movie night will continue this year. Chan and AVH celebrate the LGBTQ+ community yearly by supporting local queer businesses.

“In June, we always do our pride celebration. We support Crush Cakes, a queer-owned business in town, and we get cupcakes from them and have rainbow gear to pass out, and it is just fun,” says Chan.

A crucial aspect of DEI is informing people who need help understanding on diversity topics that occur throughout the world and their community. Without this knowledge, it is hard understand the meaning of DEI.

“It is important for students to understand… why this is important. If we look at the demographics of our school population, it is predominately white. If you don’t learn about the experiences of other people, you can’t understand why DEI even matters,” says Chan.The Leaders of the AVH club explain what they bring to the community.