The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Audio: Affinity groups gain popularity

Community+members+gather+at+the+Blacksgiving+event%2C+a+Nov.+9+Thanksgiving-inspired+cultural+food+exchange+hosted+by+the+Black+Students+Association+in+Judd+C116.+Inside+and+outside+school%2C+the+popularity+of+identity-focused+clubs+has+increased+in+recent+years.+BSA+is+only+one+of+the+many+clubs+of+this+kind+available+to+students+at+Lab.
Olin Nafziger
Community members gather at the “Blacksgiving” event, a Nov. 9 Thanksgiving-inspired cultural food exchange hosted by the Black Students’ Association in Judd C116. Inside and outside school, the popularity of identity-focused clubs has increased in recent years. BSA is only one of the many clubs of this kind available to students at Lab.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Mariama Jalloh’s first name as “Mariam.”

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Inside and outside school, the popularity of identity-focused clubs has increased in recent years. Mariama Jalloh, a co-president of the Black Students’ Association, describes how she sought and created spaces at Lab where she can feel seen and supported.

“It’s an option for us to spend time together and also feel comfortable in our own space,” Mariama said. “It’s about students and navigating attending a predominantly white institution, or just to talk about Blackness and just be in the space that would be comfortable together.”

BSA is only one of the many clubs of this kind available to students at Lab. Other groups include the Asian Students’ Association, Latinos Unidos, and the newly formed Hindu Students’ Association, as well as many others. The purpose of these clubs is to bring students who identify within these groups together, Mariama said. 

“It’s just mainly community space,” Mariama said. “Honestly, we just wanted to be a space that they [students] can feel comfortable in, and somewhere they can feel proud to themselves and navigate their own identity.”

Mariama says that she believes these clubs are becoming more popular because people have become much more culturally aware in the past few years.

“A lot of people maybe are wanting to find those spaces, or wanting to either expand and find an interest, or maybe they found friends in people who have a shared identity with them,” Mariama said. 

These spaces were created in order to help students to find community at school, Mariama says. When Mariama came to Lab from a predominantly black and hispanic school, she found that the community BSA provided was invaluable. 

“BSA has been very supportive for me and just having again a black space especially because I’m not someone who grew up at Lab or in Hyde Park or anything like that. I always went to a predominantly black or hispanic school. So, having a black space in a predominantly white institution has been very helpful for me.”

Reporting for the U-High Midway, this is Sinziana Lazar.

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About the Contributors
Sinziana Lazar
Sinziana Lazar, Reporter
Sinziana Lazar is a member of the Class of 2027. She began journalism in 2023 as a ninth grader. She plays violin in CYSO and is a member of the Robotics and Model UN teams.
Olin Nafziger
Olin Nafziger, Photographer
Olin Nafziger is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2025. His favorite part of photojournalism is taking pictures of school activities and sports, and his favorite sport to photograph is golf. Outside of class, Olin enjoys biking, watching TV and participating in various school clubs. Awards: 2023 Association of Texas Photography Instructors Fall Contest, sports reaction, third place 2023 Association of Texas Photography Instructors Fall Contest, still life, honorable mention

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