Hi Berkeley High School (BHS)! We are BHS’s Multicultural Student Association (MCSA).
The MCSA is both a mixed-race organization and a cultural club. Recognizing a need for advocacy and visibility, we are continuously working towards creating a community that is a safe haven for students with complex identities that are not always embraced.
In popular media, mixed people are most often represented in the ‘stuck-between-two-worlds’ trope. This is often associated with feelings of angst and ostracization rooted in a very real and very common experience. Being not enough for one group, and too much for the other — the MCSA hopes to combat this. We recognize that the sooner one is able to overcome ‘stuck-between-two-worlds’-ism, the sooner they are able to recognize the value inherent in their identity. Our goal is to create a community that catches all of the people who feel they are floating in limbo between cultures and identities; to ground people before they settle into that sense of lostness and usher them into the next stage of self validation and appreciation.
Mixed people have a unique ability to bridge gaps between communities. One of the most famous mixed people in America is Vice President Kamala Harris. While her character maintains an air of controversy in the Bay Area, we cannot overlook how her presence has contributed to a greater cultural understanding. In one area, we see that she is frequently referred to as Indian and Black rather than Half-Indian and Half-Black. This is a positive representation that many mixed people have sought out for a long time — to not be referred to as halves of a whole. In another area, there’s the story of Thulasendrapuram. The community members of the birthplace of Harris’s maternal grandfather, all the way across the sea in India, gathered and prayed for Harris’s victory, and celebrated when she won. Regardless of the distance, Harris’s identity has garnered support from many different communities, not only in the US, but across the world.
The MCSA has been able to employ our invaluable cross-cultural understandings in order to educate and spread representation in many different ways. We worked with a mixed media platform run by highschoolers in Los Angeles to have a podcast published highlighting the experiences of Mixed Race students in the Bay Area. Last March we hosted the Mixed Speaker Series, an event that showcased the experiences of mixed race students and faculty at BHS. We are currently preparing to host it again in March 2021 over zoom. This time, we will have speakers from many different mixed race organizations including Alameda High School’s Mixed Student Union.
Additionally, we are hosting remote club meetings that often feature speakers of diverse backgrounds. We also collaborated with the Mixed Retention Center at UC Berkeley to provide support to first generation juniors and seniors with the college application process. The MCSA worked with BHS’s Black Student Union to start the United Cultural Coalition (UCC) which unites cultural clubs at BHS. The UCC works to bring people of all backgrounds together to address racial injustices and combat the difficulties of operating clubs remotely.
The MCSA recognizes and values the voices of our mixed population. We aim to educate and create a more understanding community for people of all walks of life.
Meetings are every other Friday at lunch. More info can be found here.
Follow us on social media!