Fortifying Bridges gives students a voice to reflect on their communities


Saya Deshpande

Fortifying Bridges brings the Carlmont community together every year.

Carlmont students and local citizens filled the Student Union for the annual “Fortifying Bridges” event after school on Friday, Jan. 31. This unique, student-run event brought the community together to hear from speakers as they reflected on how they have dealt with prejudice against them.

Planning for this event started in August to ensure that everything would go smoothly.

“We have meetings once a month, besides the month of the event, where we have multiple meetings,” said senior Azucena Duran, vice president of Fortifying Bridges.

Janelle Kwofie, president of Fortifying Bridges, ran the event with Duran. They worked together with multiple school organizations, including SOS, Irish Club, Black Student Union (BSU), Indian Club, Green Team, Gender Equality Club, Muslim Fellowship Club, Latino Unidos, and Polynesian Club, to produce the event.

The individual clubs also prepared for Fortifying Bridges on their own.

“We picked who our speaker was going to be in November and talked about this event in all our club meetings leading up to it,” said Amruta Thuse, a senior and the president of Indian Club.

This year’s topic for Fortifying Bridges was how to represent one’s community in society. Every speaker talked about their experience with the matter.

“I’m biracial, and my two cultures are very different. I am half Irish and half Hispanic, but I only look like one of the two cultures. I’ve learned to embrace that I am Hispanic and to be proud of being part of two different ethnicities,” said Kelly Anne Cumiskey, a senior and the president of Irish Club.

Cumiskey also spoke about how one should not judge others for embracing their culture, but rather support them in representing their community in society.

Kwofie, who is also president of the BSU, talked about the bias people have held against her. During her sophomore year, Kwofie received the internship opportunity of a lifetime. However, people only believed she got the internship because of her race instead of her intelligence.

“There’s something beautiful in recognizing your success. Just because others don’t, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t,” Kwofie said.

Additionally, others at the event talked about how to bring the community to create a better society.

“I think the more important factor that binds us together, each one of us, is the diversity with the same hope for better,” said Melody Liu, a senior and representative for International Club.