Decatur students to host first Culture Night


On Apr. 28, the Decatur High School Multicultural Union will host the first ever Culture Night, taking place between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. in the school cafeteria and courtyard. 

Senior Kaya Desai, a member of the Multicultural Union, originally proposed the idea. 

“We were inspired by having an international day. Other schools [host events] where people wear clothes from other cultures,” Desai said. “We talked about it a lot and decided that it would be a great way to represent everyone and have everyone connected.”

The Multicultural Union was newly formed as a coalition between diverse student organizations, such as Desai’s own World Knowledge Club as well as the Black Student Union (BSU) and Jewish Student Union (JSU). 

BSU co-president Vinessa Taylor followed in the footsteps of her predecessor by starting the connection between the various organizations.

“Towards the end of my junior year, the co-president before me [Daxton Pettus] was talking about getting all the student union groups together and really encouraged me and my other co-president to initiate that. And throughout my senior year, a lot of the other presidents of the other student union groups came up to me and talked about collaborating,” Taylor said.

Desai added, “[The Multicultural Union] was made to get some leadership from student diversity representative clubs and have all of us leaders in touch with each other for collaborations or other projects that we can do together. And then from there I pitched International Day and it turned into Culture Night.”

Culture Night is only the first event hosted by the Multicultural Union thus far. However, leaders of the union already have plans to continue the tradition, along with other similar events in future school years. 

The setup during Culture Night will consist of booths, food vendors, galleries, and performances. While students will lead the majority of showcases, Desai invited a handful of parents and community members to facilitate the setup. Although she originally planned for the fair to be hosted during the school day, Desai later realized that the timing conflicted with spirit days. As the current form of the event, Desai envisions a showcase inspired by the Spanish fairs hosted at Renfroe Middle School. 

In terms of defining culture, Desai emphasized that the culture aspect of the fair was not limited to nationality and ethnicity.

“We really wanted to explore what culture really means, so it’s not necessarily from a specific geographic location. For example, there’s queer culture, and there’s also Jewish culture, and feminist culture that’s going to be represented there,” Desai said.

While several announcements have gone out to the City of Decatur community via e-blasts and newsletters in the recent week, Desai is not completely certain about the expected turnout. 

“We aren’t sure about how many attendees, but even if there were zero attendees, combining the booths, us, and volunteers there will be at least 40,” she said. “We’re expecting quite a few, hopefully. In Decatur especially, the community tends to be involved in different school activities.”

Like Desai, Taylor has an optimistic view about the turnout.

“I’m not sure if it’ll be anything huge like the whole school, but I’m hoping for at least 100 people to come and visit. Right now, we have about 21 people who have signed up to actually showcase their culture but I’m pretty sure more will sign up… I feel like that’s going to be a good turnout especially for our first time doing this and organizing it,” Taylor said.