As a school that recently celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month and has had a diversity assembly every year since 2017, Olathe North doesn’t shy away from recognizing its students’ differences. However, this is often not an attitude reflected outside of the halls of Olathe North.
Within the last three years, the United States is a country that has imposed a Muslim ban, locked immigrants in cages, rolled back the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens, and demonstrated frightening elements of xenophobia. Current sentiments, from people in our own communities to government officials, have deemed the very idea of diversity as unnecessary and harmful. In the current administration, only two people of color and two women make up the Presidential Cabinet, a sharp contrast to the cabinet of the prior President.
Those who argue against efforts to diversify say that it is unnecessary. This thought process ignores the struggle minorities have faced in the past and continue to go through today. Discrimination of any sort is still prevalent, and the experiences that people face daily form their voice and define their perspective. Diverse viewpoints bring a new but often overlooked perspective to any conversation. Who better to get the perspective on social issues than those who have actually lived through them? If efforts could be taken to demonstrate diverse thoughts and actions, solutions to many issues could be found more quickly and easily.
As the most diverse Olathe high school, Olathe North sets an example for what diversity should look like and can achieve for the rest of the country. Many student-run groups and clubs call Olathe North home, like the Hispanic Leadership Club, Latina Leadership Club, Black Student Union, and Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). These groups seek to elevate diverse voices, and are spotlighted at the annual diversity assembly. Other students can see their peers in these groups and understand that diversity is not something to be shut out, but rather welcomed and celebrated, as it leads to a greater understanding of each other.
If this philosophy that exists at Olathe North could be reflected in the rest of society, everyone would benefit. No one is excluded because of an increase in diversity. Instead, the lives of those who have been marginalized are elevated to equality. At Olathe North, diversity is often pointed to as most students’ favorite part of the school. When everyone gets to share their experiences and learn from each other, empathy and awareness both increase. The rest of the country should take a lesson from Olathe North; diversity is a quality that should not be rejected, but celebrated.