LAHSO promotes unity, facilitates student discussion


Angelica Navarro ’18 and Elena Montoya ’18 talk to upper school dean Celso Cardenas during the second annual Unity Banquet, hosted by the Latin American and Hispanic Student Organization. Attendees participated in discussions to promote diversity. Photo credit: Tammer Bagdasarian

Tammer Bagdasarian

The Latin American and Hispanic Student Organization held its second annual Unity Banquet on March 15 after school in Feldman Horn, inviting leaders and members of affinity groups in an effort to promote diversity on campus and unity among the clubs.

LAHSO leaders spoke at the banquet, and the club provided food and activities to encourage discussion between attendees.

The leaders and faculty sponsors said the event was a natural progression from last year’s Unity Brunch, which was a less formal event held to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and bring clubs together.

“What I love is that we gave thought to what we did last year and that we wanted to take it a step further this year in terms of our goals,” faculty sponsor and upper school dean Celso Cardenas said. “This year, we wanted to have a conversation around coalition building and what we could do to unify some affinity groups across campus.”

During the event, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Janine Jones (Taylor ’18, Avery ’23) spoke about the current political climate and what students can do to promote unity.

“Unity truly is a prerequisite for any meaningful and lasting change,” Jones said. “Unfortunately, what seems to prevail in this world today is divisiveness. But we must continue to focus collectively and individually on cohesion. You all must be that glue that holds us together.”

The LAHSO leaders said the banquet contributed to accomplishing goals of understanding and advocating for diversity.

“I think this was the first step in bringing everyone in all of the affinity groups together,” LAHSO leader Xenia Bernal ’19 said. “This was a great place where we really got to see each other and get to define what it means to be diverse, what it means to be a student at Harvard-Westlake and what it means to be human.”