East’s Unity Day takes on student issues


Courtesy of Crystal Yeh ('24)

Students shared their experiences and opinions at East’s Unity Day.

On Friday, January 13, 2023, East’s Unity Day took place. Students of all different backgrounds came together to reflect on problems and dive deeper into the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Unity Day aims to reflect and teach students about nonviolence philosophy and strategies to seek social justice. All students were invited to come up with plans to improve the experience of all East students based on the problems and challenges they face. 

“Students are really equipped to talk, not only about these challenges but resolve these challenges; they live it,” said Mrs. Yanell Joseph of East’s Student Advocacy Department.

Joseph, in partnership with East’s cultural clubs, created another successful Unity Day. She wanted students to acknowledge that racism, bias and inequalities are still present but that there are ways to combat these problems. The event gave students of different beliefs, religions and cultures the opportunity to share their different experiences. 

“Everyone has their own different experiences. Everyone sees equity differently and what they believe is needed. Everyone has some insight as to what they experience as far as biases and racism are concerned,” said Joseph.

Unity Day was created as a way for students to personally connect with Dr. King and remember his fight for social change. Participants discussed the meaning of Dr. King’s quotes, questioned the extent of voice they have in school and came up with ideas about how all students’ voices can be heard and included. They spent time breaking down quotes to understand the complete meaning behind his words. 

Unity Day encourages students to come up with plans. Teachers like Joseph remind the students that their concerns and issues are taken seriously.

“We don’t want students to walk around and think that because they’re part of a small group they have to tolerate certain behavior or words from others,” said Joseph.

“It’s time to hear students and how they believe they can make the school culture better for themselves,” said Joseph.

This year followed the similar format of last year’s event, with activities including guest speakers, discussions, and dinner lasting until around 8 pm.