With the emergence of the GSA as a bigger, more inclusive club in 2018 I decided to talk to Shay Mannik, club leader and NHS senior, to get a better idea of what the club is all about.
Shay explained that, “the main focus is to create a culture of more acceptance in school and provide more support to students who need it.” This is important due to the fact that no other club at Northfield can have such an impact on a community or create the same safe space that the GSA demonstrates. Shay began to talk about the changes the club is making, saying that, “for the past few years it has been more of a social club. This year we are focusing more on advocacy because we are trying to do projects and outreach to the rest of the school because the club is not very diverse at the moment and that is not representative of the LGBTQ community. We are trying to spread the support to as many people as we can.”
Next, Shay spoke about the progress the club has made. He said, “We are raising money for the diversity conference which is in February, we are going to hold a movie night to get more people involved. We are also not only focusing on the LGBTQ community but the straight one as well because the more allies involved the better. Because even if you are not gay, you have friends who are and peers who are, and you don’t want to accidentally say something that hurts them. You want to be as supportive as possible.” Lastly he spoke about what he is most excited for explaining that, “I feel like I have done a good job having some initiative in the club, I think we are trying to get a junior student to plan something for the beginning of the year next year so we can get ahead in getting ourselves out there compared to other clubs.”
Overall the GSA is not the small, quiet club that many people make it out to be. This year they are going to be more inclusive and be more involved with both activities and outreach to the rest of the school. Although some improvements have been made they are not changing from their roots in the fact that they will continue to be a safe space for people who need it and creating a sense of community for LGBTQ and straight people. This club although small, has potential to impact the school in big ways.
If you are interested or have time during lunch I think it would be beneficial to check out this club and try to get involved in any way possible. Based on what Shay said they are being more accepting and open to everyone that shows up to either get support or to be an ally. Along with supporting our peers they are hoping to do more club like activities and get involved with the school. This is a good opportunity for everyone to be supportive and have a good time.