By: Asalah Hassan & Tierra Johnson
The Yemeni Student Association club (YSA), previously named SWANA, held their first assembly on Dec. 6 in the theatre to celebrate Yemeni independence day and to represent their culture.
The SWANA club was created in 2016 by Jennifer Alexandre, who graduated from Oakland High in 2018, who wanted a place for Southwest Asian and North African students, as well as anyone else who wanted to learn about the culture, and to help bring misrepresented students together in general. The club stopped having meetings and was without a club president for a while but was taken over and re-created by newer Yemeni students, according to club adviser Tara Asciutto.
“The Yemen holiday means a lot,” said Dewa Mohamed, a freshman in the Rise family. “It reminds us of our beautiful history that has never been shown.”
The Dec. 6 assembly included a small opening skit, a poem, and a traditional Yemeni dance, then ended with a few speakers and a fashion show.
Yemen Independence Day is a national holiday in Yemen, celebrated on Nov. 30, to commemorate Yemen’s independence from the British.
Outside of Oakland High, every year, Oakland International High School students come together to celebrate different cultures from around the world, including Turkish schools, and Joaquin Miller Elementary School celebrates Yemeni culture as part of their World Language and Culture Program.
While many other traditions and cultures have been celebrated at Oakland High such as the Chinese New Year, Day of the Dead, and Black History Month, Yemeni and Arabic cultures haven’t always been recognized according to Akram Ghanem, a junior in the Envir.
“Therefore it’s important to have a club and showcasing work to spread their culture,” added Ayah Alwadi, a freshman in the RISE family.
“People should feel proud of their culture.” said Mohamed.