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The Groves Scriptor

The Groves Scriptor

The Groves Scriptor

The WOCC: Part one


“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” 

-Audre Lorde


The class stares back at me with blank faces, but I don’t know what kind of expression I was expecting to be met with. My eyes part the white sea, and scattered among my peers with faces masked with a conjured sympathy, and hands coming together to produce a low and slow clap. Everleigh, my club advisor, scrunches her dark brows together and pops out of her chair, bouncing up to the front of the class.


 She forces her way into my personal bubble and goes on about how “personal” my article proposition is to her. “This summer in Russia I knew discrimination. As you can see I have brown hair and brown eyes and my freckles make me look much darker than I am, especially in the summer when they are covering my face.” 


I stare back at her for a moment, the gears of my brain turning at a snail speed, the nonsense she’d just spurted weighing my mind down like molasses. I shift my attention back to my peers, only to see all of them wearing the same expression as they were before her comment. But tangled in the mess of bored expressions I see an underclassmen leaning forward in her chair. She catches my eye as if her hands are already open, waiting for my gaze to fall to her, then gives me a faint smile and mouths “What is she talking about?” I just shrug, and as soon as I open my mouth to say something back, Everleigh pounds her fake gavel into the lectern to resume our normal club activities and I promptly take my notes and my hope for a change in Seaside Prep back with me to my seat to sit in silence and work on my article on the new gym being built. 

Embarrassment heats my skin and makes me regret ever opening my mouth to speak in the first place. How ignorant and naive I was- thinking that my club idea, one for girls of color, would be accepted in a school as strictly white and inherently oblivious to societal concerns outside of theirs as mine. I’d thought it was a good idea, and I’d spent nights hunched over at my desk, creating a meeting schedule, an in-depth slideshow and even an (embarrassingly blank) sign-up sheet. I figured it would be good- to have a space where girls of color could come and feel safe and completely accepted in the midst of an environment where feelings such as those are sparse. 


My disappointment weighs my fingers down as I miserably type my mundane article, my head tilted down. I don’t notice when someone slides into one of the three empty seats at my table- the one next to me. “Hey,” she says, and as I look up I recognize her as the girl from before- the one who’d whispered to me when Everleigh had been speaking. 


“Hi,” I reply, looking up from my computer to meet her pretty brown eyes. Her features are soft and kind, half of her long dark hair pulled up and tied with a lacy pink bow. I know little about her, little enough to have forgotten her name, but enough to identify her as an underclassmen, and of Asian descent. 

“I just wanted to tell you that your club is a really good idea,” she says, tucking a wispy loose strand of hair behind her ear. 


“Oh my gosh, thank you,” I gush, my lips twisting into a smile. All it takes is one comment for the embarrassment to dissipate, shedding from me like an expired skin. 


“Like, it would be so good to have a space where girls can go and just feel accepted, you know? Around people who have the same problems and concerns as they do,” she says, leaning her face on her hand. Her eyes take on a wistful gleam- like her heart yearns for the same blissful ideas as mine does. 


“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” my smile grows along with my heart as it fills with the familiar warmth one feels when they experience even the smallest bit of connection with another person. “Especially since there’s so little of us here, and we don’t have the same kind of community that other kids have at other schools,” 


“Exactly!! If you need any help finding a teacher sponsor or getting the word out, I’d love to help you,” 


“That would be great,” an optimism fills my system and seems to propel me through the halls. I always try to seek out other girls or guys that look like me in the halls, almost habitually. I remember the first day I transferred here, counting the number of people of color that I saw and later presented the sparse number to my parents in defiance of the “diversity” that had been preached on the school’s website. 


School gets out and I race out to my small car, parked next to a car I’ve never seen before. It’s nice- nicer than a lot of other cars at our school, even though I go to a private school. A girl with a pastel hijab struts towards the car with her arm extended clicking the key fob, her other arm holding a large tumbler filled with a green drink. She’s beautiful- her features soft and inviting. She smiles and gives me a little wave, and another addictive douse of hope swells in my chest. Chances like these rarely arise in this school- chances to meet someone who can relate to me on some level, someone that isn’t just white. Feeding off of the high I’m feeding off of from my previous win I decide that a wave back isn’t enough, and a club needs at least 3 people and an advisor to be a real club. “Hey, I’ve never seen you around school, are you new?” Shit, that might sound rude like I’m not observant, “If you aren’t I haven’t not noticed you for any particular reason, I just keep to myself more sorry,” is my save. 


“No no, I am new,” she says with a sort of awkwardly empathetic smile, like she knows what’s going through my head. “Please don’t apologize, at least you didn’t tell me that I don’t look like I’m from around here.” I let out a little giggle and immediately slap my hand over my mouth as if it would silence the laughter that’s bubbling up, but she follows my lead and now we’re both laughing.


 “I understand the struggle girl, going to a PWI is definitely not for the weak,” I say, following with “I was actually thinking of starting a club for us- for women of color,” 


Her eyes widen, “That would be great, I’d love to join if you’re still accepting members,” 


“I need all the members I can get! It’s not up and running yet, I still haven’t found a teacher sponsor, but-” 


“You could use Mrs. White! She’s my AP Lit teacher, and she’s African American and she’s always bringing women of color into the conversation and highlighting our point of views,” 


Mrs. White. 

Why didn’t I think of Mrs. White? 


I think of the sense of solidarity she and I have- her being the only black woman in the school and me being one of three in my grade. The knowing glances we share, the smiles she’d give me when she called on me to answer a question. My best bet is Mrs. White. 


“That’s an amazing idea, thank you so much…” I ramble, only to realize that I have no clue what her name even is. 

“Laila,” she says, again displaying her keen sense of knowing what’s going on in my mind despite our just meeting. 

“I’m Imara,” I tell her, grinning. 

“It’s so nice to meet you, Imara,” she replies, “If you hurry, I’m sure Mrs. White will still be there, I have her class last period,” 

“Okay! I’ll go right now, thank you so much. Do you want to come with me?” 

“I’d love to!” 

I find myself weaving through the polished and pristine halls of Seaside Prep with a girl I just met, laughing over random stories we share, ones about our mishaps here, despite her only being here for a few weeks. 

“Yeah, everyone in my French class thinks I’d be more adept at learning a new language because I have an “accent.” She says. “I’ve always known to watch what I say especially since people in the U.S have a very misconstrued perception of people who immigrate to here, but I hate feeling like I have to limit my opinions and my voice,” She goes on “I was very big on activism back at my old school, but here it feels like I have such a small reach.” 

Reading my mind once again. 

“I really think this club will help other girls like us have a place where we can express everything,” I try to assuage her feeling of discontent. 

We arrive at her classroom twenty minutes after the last bell had rung, and at this point I’m almost bouncing on the soles of my feet in excitement. 

“How can I help you girls?” Mrs. White asks us when we step into her dimly lit and decoration-heavy classroom, the familiar scent of vanilla candles meeting us. 

“Laila, Audrey and I were thinking of starting a club for empowerment of women of color- just to form a space where we can meet and talk about our concerns and struggles, maybe we could even fundraise and find charities to donate to. We were wondering if you’d be willing to be the teacher sponsor for our club? I totally understand if you have too much on your plate, or-” 

Mrs. White has the grace to cut me off as soon as I find myself staring to ramble, a smile growing on her kind face. Her eyes sparkle with joy. “That sounds like a wonderful idea, Imara. I would love to be your sponsor,” 

I almost fall to my knees right there in pure relief. I gush my thanks in a scramble of words, my cheeks beginning to ache from the amount of smiling I’ve done in the past few hours. My day took such a sharp turn, it’d almost given me whiplash. 

We spend the next hour or so sitting at her desks and exchanging ideas we have for the club. Mrs. White promises to confirm the club with our principal, and we create a definite meeting schedule and use online resources to create fliers to tape to all the lockers and doorways. 

I leave the classroom, eventually, with aching cheeks and a newfound sense of pride in something I’d created, and a hope that maybe everything will work out.

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