What Diversity Means to Woodbridge

Woodbridge students and teachers reflect on their experiences as marginalized members of our community, and speak to the values that make them unique.

Karina Osbourne, Senior 

“My race is just another factor of the issues I face as a queer woman. I think that the one insidious thing that has completely affected my way of living is [me] being a woman and being taught that I am worthy of life and of being loved only if I am attractive to men. Then at the same time I am also shown by TV, by books, by music, by my peers, that me being black makes me undesirable towards men…I see myself as completely unattractive and unable to be loved because I am black. I am also queer, and when you look at gay people in [the] media and gay music and gay pride and everything “queer” in America, it is completely white-washed. Queer culture was gentrified from black women and even in that we are not seen as attractive. I feel displaced, and like I am not attractive, ( which is my only ‘value’ as a woman). I know that me being seen as attractive isn’t the only issue I face, but that aspect of my experience as a black woman has affected so much of the way I treat my platonic and romantic relationships.”

Matthew Perez, Spanish Teacher

“When marriage equality was going on, I went and held up signs on the sidewalks and streets. When we finally got marriage equality for everyone, I was super passionate about that. Something else I guess that’s come up in the last few years is more representation of LGBT people in the media and in everyday lives… I don’t talk about my personal life at school. But after a couple years, I realized that I need to be a positive light. I need to show who I am to my students and be a role model because there are students that are probably like me who had no one to look up to and who had to figure it out themselves… Being a part of the LGBTQ community as a marginalized group, I have more empathy towards other people. Now, I was on the outs, you know, figuring out who I was, and I got some bullying from my older brother. I wanted to be as normal as possible and I didn’t want to be different, and then when I realized that I was different, then I embraced it. I realized that people are people and nobody is the same.”

Diyya Ganju, Junior

“I’ve attended a couple of protests, but the most impactful was a peaceful sit-in at Irvine City Hall. This one was especially important to me because Irvine is where I live, work and go to school so it’s an important city to me. The most incredible thing were the speakers at the event – they were young and connected well with the crowd. I felt inspired by them. Personally, one of the sad parts for me was seeing the amount of people, showing up for five minutes, taking some pictures and then leaving. It was really frustrating to see people use this protest as nothing more than a photoshoot. Attending protests inspired me, because I saw so many people coming together in support of the black lives matter cause.”





Jillian Kessel, Sophomore

“It’s not necessarily like I feel I don’t belong in America, but it’s definitely scary to see the rise of antisemitism and wonder what’s going to happen in 10 years… You walk around at school and you hear the Holocaust jokes or even the swastikas on the lockers…I was on freshman class council last year, and we were setting up for the holiday pep rally. In addition to Christmas trees and stuff, we had menorahs and dreidels…Then…they told us we had to take down all the menorahs and all the dreidels because it was supposed to be secular… Respect everyone’s religion and everyone’s views. There’s no reason to be spreading hate. There’s already so much darkness in the world, so always be the light and try to spread kindness, because there’s really no reason for all the hate towards our religion.”



Anika Parekh, Senior 

“There is this holiday called Diwali and it is the Festival of Lights. The festival of Diwali is like honoring one of our gods. Basically we are praying so we can let the light in and honor gods that will give us good wishes. I think that really told me to see the good and positive side in everything and worry more about the process rather than the outcome of the process…Basically it is saying: don’t worry about the outcome, worry about the way you get there. I think that has helped me throughout schooling and through art. It is something that I try to implement in my everyday life… A lot of people do this thing called Puja and it’s just like praying to the gods and you usually do it every morning. I’m not that strict about it, but I will still call myself Hindu because I partake in that kind of mentality. You don’t have to pray everyday in order to be a following Hindu. You just have to believe in the way that Hinduism teaches you. I also think that [Hinduism] is kinda cool in terms of social standings too because… there’s a lot of gender fluidity in our religious texts.”