By Caitlyn Veal
The PRISM club, ASW’s LGBTQI+ student organization, is in the process of making a mural that they have been working on for 2 years. According to Julia Y., a 12th-grade member of the club, “This mural is made of six individual panels that are joined together so that it can be set up in different places and is transportable. It is a rainbow background with the word PRISM in bold in the center, it’s the name of the club and also represents the spectrum of sexuality and gender. Around are faces of prominent LGBT historical figures and activists as well as written in text how they relate to the LGBTQ community and how they have influenced it.”
The PRISM club is run by a group of students and their target goal is to bring LGBTQI+ students and their allies together to support one another while also providing a safe space to socialize. According to the High School bulletin, the club works hard to create a platform that stands to fight for racial, gender, LGBTQI+ issues and look into economic justice.
Ms. Bechdoldt helped students begin the PRISM club in 2017. This club was supposed to be a meeting place where anyone could come to discuss anything and everything with people who may have similar experiences. PRISM club is a “place for open conversation that someone may not be able to have anywhere else”, says Julia. “There are currently four members of our PRISM club, this is mainly due to the fact that we had little luck in recruiting people in the virtual fair and since there are so few of us, we all have an equal say in what happens in the club so we have become very comfortable with one another and made a safe atmosphere for conversation.”
According to Julia, “It is important, in my opinion, because we get to meet and connect with allies and people who are LGBTQ and we are able to form a community within the school and talk about things that one may not feel comfortable saying anywhere else.” She also stated that this group has been able to strengthen her bond with some of her friends that are a part of this group and many allies that she may not have had the chance to meet outside of this space.
Marcell V.’s thoughts were similar:“The club does not technically have a leader so this being said, I believe that everyone can contribute to being a part of the community.”
Both of them feel that a strong foundation is being built and that when they leave the legacy of this club is able to be carried out. There is the need to build a strong foundation so that when the group of them that are seniors leave there is a strong foundation and that a legacy is able to be carried out. “I feel like the current group we have now provides this safe space and I hope that when I graduate the newcomers will make it a safe space as well because that is really what this club is intended to be,” said Marcell.
“I do believe that there have to be clubs like this in other schools,” said Marcell, “Because I think when a young LGBTQ+ person comes to a school it is important that they seek out a safe space which they can leave behind the fear of getting bullied.”
“Regarding the club’s future, we will be finishing a mural shortly that we have been working on for about 2 years,” said Marcell. “This year has been tough because the virtual fair, in my opinion, did not give many opportunities to reach out to other grades, once the mural is done our shift will be to recruiting more members and to keep this group alive!”
This mural has been the focal point of their club’s focus going on two years now. When the club began thinking of a bigger project, the main goal was to be able to showcase LGBTQ throughout the years using historic and modern figures that are important to the community. In 2019 this final design was approved and given funds when they put forth the idea of having a mural composed of 6 panels, thought up by former ASW student Ola N. Julia believes that, “With the mural that we are creating, it is a creative way to spread awareness while doing it in a way to captivate audiences”.
If you would like to contact either Marcell or Julia for further information, here are their emails:
Marcell Veer ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia Young ~ email@example.com