Multi-Culti Needs Change


In light of the sudden change of Community High’s Multi-Culti, students and former alumni have become angry as a decision to change the tradition was made without Forum Council input and was unexpectedly enforced upon students on Oct. 27 during Forum Bulletin. Multi-Culti is an annual event where each forum spends a day celebrating culture by decorating their classroom, cooking food and bringing the forum together.

Reactions ranged from social media storms to an online petition to ‘save’ Multi-Culti, made by CHS senior Sam Millman, with comments from students and alumni advocating their support for the continuation of this historic tradition.

“I never thought that Multi-Culti was culturally insensitive,” commented junior Daille Held on, where the petition is currently being held. “And even if there are some issues with Multi-Culti, completely getting rid of it instead of addressing the problems is ridiculous.”

However, the problem with this statement made by Held is that Multi-Culti was never cancelled.

A lot of the confusion about whether Multi-Culti was totally cancelled or not initially spurred from the wordy slides presented to forums. You can see these slides here:

In summary, the Forum Bulletin slide from Dean Marci Tuzinsky states that there will be a new event in the fall, where individual forums share foods and traditions among themselves. There would likely be another event in Spring that resembles past Multi-Culti days.

For forums who did not read the slides, or didn’t analyze them to an extent of understanding, it was up to students to spread information around, whether or not it was true. “I was told that they were going to cancel Multi-Culti completely,” said CHS junior Sam Uribe. “I was very misinformed, and I was very much pressured into signing [the petition]. I was just kind of told that they were going to cancel it completely, I didn’t know they were just changing it or switching the schedule.”

A follow up Forum Council meeting on Oct. 31 did not seem to clear up information for students, and instead put “a pause button,” on the situation, something Dean Tuzinsky repeatedly stated at the meeting. “I realized that we needed to hit the pause button so that we can have the time to have all of the conversations that we need to have so that we as a school, not me, we as a school, can celebrate, the many cultures of our society,” Tuzinsky said. “We talked about the fact that in order to have this conversation, we needed to include more people than just the folks in forum council because it is such an important topic.”

Many students and staff including teacher Maneesha Mankad have believed that Multi-Culti needs reform, and has been disrespectful to certain cultures in the past with forums not spending enough time researching cultures or going in depth. For example, Mankad talks about how a forum deciding between certain cultures can make students of that culture feel devalued and unimportant. “[Students] see that a culture is being ranked based on what [their forum] wants to do. It can give a sense of my culture, or the culture I have allegiance to, is not valued as much,” Mankad said. “It’s just such a complex issue that trying to do it, in a way that involves a less amount of time, and ends up scratching just the surface, ends up doing a lot of disservice.”

There may not be a complete solution to the problems of stereotyping or confusion surrounding Multi-Culti. However, Community students and staff are looking forward to a new solution. “I think it’s a path in the right direction,” Mankad said. “Having something dear to you, or shapes you as a person, makes you more aware of what it means to put yourself out there. It helps you increase your sensitivity in people putting themselves out there. That’s why I think it’s a step in the right direction.”