DELMAR — Bethlehem Central High School recently invited a guest speaker to discuss intersectionality as part of Pride Month.
Shadey Mercado-Perez, director of LGBT Health and Human Services at In Our Own Voices, engaged with high school students and faculty in the discussion on Thursday, June 2. She was invited by three student clubs — GSA (Genders and Sexuality Alliance), SPAS (Students for Peace and Survival) and ALANA (African American, Latinx, Asian, Native American & Allies) — all committed to the advancement of human rights
During the presentation, students and faculty collaborated to learn and share how different intersections of different aspects of identity can create unique experiences of discrimination and marginalization for people of all ages. It was shared that these can include intersections of gender, racial identity, nationality, disability, and sexuality among others.
Students and staff who participated learned about practicing intersectionality in the school setting by recognizing that there are multiple forms of systemic discrimination and that forms of systemic discrimination intersect with each other.
There’s also the need for respecting the voices of those most affected by the issue, being inclusive and incorporating multiple perspectives, and recognizing the connections between seemingly unrelated topics.
The audience was encouraged to strive towards collaborating with people and providing resources while also highlighting the importance of community and understanding.
“Shadey Mercado-Perez was masterful at creating a safe space where participants felt empowered to share their own experiences,” said teacher Mike Mitchell, who is a faculty advisor of the GSA. “Students and staff left the presentation with tools to be aware of and how to practice intersectionality both in and out the school setting.”
In Our Own Voices, located in Albany, works for and ensures the physical, mental, spiritual, political, cultural and economic survival and growth of the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color communities.
For more information about the organization, please visit www.ioov.org.