Introducing Lemonade, Poly’s New Black Girl Affinity Group

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Introducing Lemonade, Poly’s New Black Girl Affinity Group

Lemonade's first meeting. Francis started the group in order to cultivate a sense of unity among Poly's black girl community.

Lemonade's first meeting. Francis started the group in order to cultivate a sense of unity among Poly's black girl community.

via Lotoya Francis

Lemonade's first meeting. Francis started the group in order to cultivate a sense of unity among Poly's black girl community.

via Lotoya Francis

via Lotoya Francis

Lemonade's first meeting. Francis started the group in order to cultivate a sense of unity among Poly's black girl community.

Affinity groups like Umoja, Unidad, Jewish Caucus, and the Gender and Sexuality Alliance have provided safe spaces for discussion and helped build smaller communities for dozens of Poly students. Senior Lotoya Francis recently founded an affinity group for black girls named Lemonade. The club is advised by teachers Angela Gittens, Mandy Pabon, Erika Freeman, Eva Freeman, Carol Seeley, Devon Winfield, and Josina Reaves. The club has already begun to attract a large number of members.

 “I created Lemonade in order to celebrate black women. The intersectionality of blackness and womanhood is marked by neglect, exploitation and hardship, perseverance, beauty, and strength. It is important to me that black women have a space to identify with and to motivate each other,” Francis said. “Lemonade serves as a space for black Poly women and girls to unite and discuss issues that plague our community, relate to each other, celebrate each other, and have fun together. As the saying goes, life serves us lemons, so we come together to make lemonade.”

Hopefully,  Lemonade will positively impact the student body. Some students in the club said that being a black girl at Poly makes them feel as though they are alone. It can be potentially isolating for black females to sit in a room with white students and black males. Junior Zene Willoughby said, “Lemonade is necessary because as a black girl you can sometimes feel alone in a predominantly white institution. A club like this serves to unify us and identify our supporters.”

Like other affinity groups, Lemonade hopes to unite people at Poly. Although this group is only for black girls, the goal is not to exclude other students. Its creation stemmed from a lack of a space where black female students could talk about their unique experiences.

Although the club has just begun, many black girls can already feel its effect. In a school where most of the students are white, it can be hard for people of color to find a place where they feel they can belong. Lemonade provides students with a safe space where they can engage with students who look like them.

“Despite having Umoja (the African-American affinity group), Lemonade is a different type of safe haven,” said junior Kristen Palmer. “It allows me to talk about issues I am having to people who completely understand. Although they are similar clubs, I think that they perform two different, but important, roles in our community.”