At 2:30 p.m. on a warm Tuesday in late May, Eden Prairie High School (EPHS) students streamed into the school’s main gym to the music of global artists, including K-Pop band Seventeen, Somali musician Kiin Jamac, Senegalese-American singer Akon, and Indian singer Hamsika Iyer.
Many headed up into the bleachers while others, dressed in colorful clothing from different countries, mingled and chatted. Everyone was there to enjoy Passport 2 Pop Culture, a vibrant celebration of EPHS’ diversity through dance, music, fashion, and sharing of cultural traditions.
Hosted by Dare 2 B Real, an intercultural student leadership group that focuses on racial equity and inclusion, the event featured music from all over the world, a fashion show, plus student dance performances by senior Nitya Potti, a K-Pop dance group, and Somali Dhaanto.
The high-energy performances were followed by food and drink tastings, henna tattooing, and more, hosted by student clubs which each did something different to represent and share their culture. Students clustered around the various booths to enjoy fun trivia questions, candy, and snacks.
The event was organized for the second year running by seniors Ira Dhamne and Rathika Murali, as part of their involvement in Dare 2 B Real. “Our club had hosted this event a few years ago — my sister Ishaa was a part of it then, and I wanted to continue her legacy,” Dhamne said.
“We wanted people to be aware of the amount of diversity at our school and see that and learn about the different cultures we have,” she added.
EPHS has a diverse student body. In the class of 2023 alone, students hailed from 40 different counties and spoke 36 languages.
However, Dhamne said, “A lot of people honestly are not very aware of how diverse our school really is, because they’re kind of in their own bubble. I think it’s really nice to go to something like this and learn about the different people at our school.”
Dare 2 B Real focuses on equity, inclusion
Dare 2 B Real is a school-sponsored student leadership club at EPHS that is also part of a national organization. The club aims to eliminate racism and address issues of equity and inclusion at EPHS in race, gender, and sexuality.
Dhamne encouraged students who might be interested in joining to stop by the club’s booth at the student activities rush in the fall. The club meets biweekly after school.
“What I like about Dare 2 B Real is that everybody feels like they belong and their voice is heard,” she said. “We try to help with inclusion, to make people feel respected, and like they belong at the school.”
Dhamne, who plans to study biology at Georgia Tech this fall, joined Dare 2 B Real freshman year. She said that through this club, “I feel like I’ve grown so much as a person, and found so many opportunities to make the high school a better place.”
We offer several ways for our readers to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn). We also encourage Letters to the Editor; submission guidelines can be found on our Contact Us page. If you believe this story has an error or you would like to get in touch with the author, please connect with us.