The Associated Student Body Rally and Spirit Committee is scheduled to hold its first Acceptance Rally Friday Feb. 8, featuring a range of dance and singing performances and speeches. Committee member Julia Bennett said that the goal of the Acceptance Rally is to promote inclusion and relate to all students by giving them a platform to share what makes them unique.
Unlike past spirit activities focusing on cultural diversity, committee member Ava Kopp said this rally will focus on acceptance. According to Kopp, the acceptance theme is similar to diversity because it pertains to identity, but it focuses on diverse interests and personalities of students rather than ethnicity.
…the acceptance theme is similar to diversity because it pertains to identity, but it focuses on diverse interests and personalities of students rather than ethnicity.
Sophomore Esha Shrivastava and junior Anya Shrivastava plan to perform a singing and sitar duet in Hindi and Urdu.
“I’m quite excited because I haven’t gotten a chance to show my culture,” Anya said.
The two sisters said they have trained in Indian classical music for years and have played with renowned artists throughout the Bay Area. Both sisters said they’ve found importance in the creativity and freedom the style gives them, and explained that they’re able to improvise as they play, which adds a personal aspect to the music they create.
Beyond the Acceptance Rally, the sisters said they are currently working to incorporate Indian classical music into the school arts department, with the aim to expose more of the student body to the musical genre.
“We have an Indian club, but I think people mainly have this stereotype of what they see in Bollywood movies,” Esha said, “There’s so much more, and music, especially classical music, is a big part of the culture.”
I’m quite excited because I haven’t gotten a chance to show my culture.
Besides ensuring that unique and representative acts are showcased, Kopp said they have worked with counselors and administration to ensure that the events are inclusive.
Three years ago, ASB held a cultural diversity day but received criticism from students feeling excluded or uncomfortable, according to Bennett. She said they’ve decided to emphasize the theme of acceptance regarding the diversity of student interest for a more positive experience.
According to Kopp, this year’s rally was inspired by LAHS’s Acceptance Rally which ASB attended on a class trip. Kopp said the committee wanted to organize something different from the annual Winter Rally and noted the committee’s desire to feature the unique and interesting MVHS community.
The committee decided not to make it a spirit week with dress-up, although there were activities such as hand printing trees and an an opportunity for students to map their birthplace on a large map in the quad, as well as a video shown during tutorial.
According to Bennett, when students take effort and place emphasis on inclusivity, it sets a norm for their peers, and the community becomes more accepting.