Black and Brown Girls Affinity Group provides safe space for girls


Mimi Geller

Girls involved in the Black and Brown Girls Affinity Group with Upper school History teacher Ryan Oto and K-12 Diversity Dean Karen Dye.

Mimi Geller, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The new Black and Brown Girls Affinity Group is one to promote awareness and give students an opportunity to be in their own safe space. Unlike other affinity groups at St. Paul Academy and Summit School that are more visible, BBG chooses to be a simple place where the girls can openly share their similar experiences and thoughts.

K-12 Diversity Dean Karen Dye describes this group as informal and one where the girls can feel like themselves.

“It is an affinity group for African Americans and Latino students, which is a broad range of students. Basically, the name Black and Brown Girls has gotten a little bit of push back because people are taking the name too literally. It’s more about the culture. It’s symbolic; Black and Brown means their culture. It’s a group for those two groups of students that are very underrepresented in our community. It’s about culture, not skin color,” Dye said.

Dye also specifies how BBG is not exclusive but rather a time in their days to congregate and be welcomed.

“Brown and Black Girls affinity group is not private and it’s not exclusionary but it’s definitely a place where the girls just come and have an opportunity to talk and share their common experiences. It’s just a place to decompress and to not have to put on any facade of who they are. They can really just be themselves.

The only goal is for it [Black and Brown Girls Affinity Group] to be a safe space

— K-12 Diversity Dean Karen Dye

,” Dye said.

Sophomore Olivia Williams Ridge who co founded BBG with sophomores Amina Smaller and Eva Garcia describes the group as being a supportive environment that provides the girls something to look forward to in the midst of busy and often stressful school days.

Our goal for this affinity group is just to provide a safe space for us and create a supportive community with the few Hispanic and Black girls that go to SPA. In the future we plan to sponsor events that will include the community, but for now, this group is just made for us,” Williams Ridge said.

BBG meets Friday tutorials however next year they plan on changing that. Dye emphasizes the importance of being able to share your individuality in a group, and she feels BBG does just that.

If anyone feels like there’s a part of their identity that they’re not able to fully express in a community then this group is an opportunity for them to be their authentic selves in that environment,” Dye said.