Diverse Duo

New club voices minorities

Elizabeth Kimball, Fall 2015 J1 Student

“I believe people need to be accepting of all religions and cultures,” said senior Helen Kontopanos of Blue Valley, one of the leaders of Diversity Club (DC).

DC, “new” to BV, has 15 members focused on making a difference in the BV community toward diversity acceptance and change.

This club has been around for decades, but their mission statement and goals have changed substantially.

DC meets every Wednesday during Taking Care of Business and goes over ideas of how to spread cultural diversity. Senior Sam Saper said their “most recent idea is to bring in a Holocaust survivor during Diversity Week” in hopes to make an impact on the community.

Diversity Week is a time at BV where numerous cultures, sexualities and ethnicities are recognized and explained. Both Kontopanos and Saper have participated in Diversity Week in socratic seminars on their faiths and ethnicities.

Kontopanos comes from a Greek family with strong ties in Santorini, Greece. She said she visits Greece on school breaks and expands her “cultural knowledge.” Saper is an embassador for Kansas City for her youth group. She is Jewish and leads a her youth group in rural KC several times a week.

“I am an ambassador for Israel and I do a lot of pro-Israel work, and it’s the first time that I actually went to Israel and Poland this summer.” Saper said. “This was the first time where I could speak on behalf of the Holocaust and on behalf of the survivors. So, now I’m going to capitol hill and talk to all the senators, and now I can do that through KC.”

Both Kontopanos and Saper believe that BV could be “a bit more accepting when it comes to cultural, ethnic and racial diversity” and hope DC will soon put a dent in BV’s mindset.

“I definitely witness a lot of close-minded behaviors, especially toward other religions and cultures.” Kontopanos said. “I think that if that there was just a way of, and hopefully diversity club does this, but a way of advocating for those minorities and people that have trouble being accepted that diversity club can help students learn about these cultures.”

DC’s mission statement is to create equality in the community and distribute a better understanding of cultural variety through determination and peace.

“Lastly, for the BV community to realize that everyone really is the same, and that everyone deserves to be and feel accepted.” Kontopanos said.