Mayor Visits Multiculturalism Class


In line with today’s sentiments of inclusion and diversity, Edison High School began a Diversity & Multiculturalism in US Society course. Recently, the class featured Edison Mayor Sam Joshi, who spoke about his own experiences with diversity and commented on Edison’s diverse communities. Joshi provided the class with information about his own administrations’ actions to promote diversity and multiculturalism in Edison, such as his Diwali festival, the raising of the Polish flag, and an upcoming Lunar New Year celebration. 

“I did not grow up knowing too much about what the Lunar New Year was,” Joshi said. “But now that we’re in the planning phases of it, I’m actively challenging myself to learn. I think ‘hey this is kind of neat,’ and learn about those traditions. Once you do that, compare that to what your traditions are, what you grow up learning. Ask yourself, ‘how is this any different, and how could you embrace more of that culture?’ I think that’s what’s really important.”

He went on to further emphasize the unique situation that Middlesex and Edison find themselves in as a major melting pot of cultures and religions. 

“I think my sense of pride in this community stemmed from practicing exactly what I’ve been preaching, which is learning consciously about different communities, such as the sports community, the community gardens people, the arts folks. There’s so many different pockets of people and once I start to immerse myself in them, I learn more about what they do, why they  do it, and why they’re so passionate about it, and that’s really led to my sense of pride in this town,” said Joshi.

Kirkpatrick appreciated the mayor showing up to the class and speaking, broadening the students’ perspectives. 

“Joshi’s presence and him answering questions helped the student’s understanding of the ideas and subject. I thought the students had great questions, and he was well prepared to answer our questions. He does a good job communicating with the students and answers the questions very well without dancing around them. He encourages diversity and finds ways to make all members of Edison appreciate all cultures and diversity,” said Kirkpatrick.

Ask yourself, ‘how is this any different, and how could you embrace more of that culture?’ I think that’s what’s really important

— Mayor Sam Joshi

During the Q&A, the mayor talked about getting involved in these events, and how much fun they can be, along with their value to each person’s life.

“You can get involved in things like planning committees for these events, and it’s very fun after you get into it. It’s so needed to learn about different cultures and religions. There is something that you can learn from every one of them that is different from your day to day,” said Joshi.

The class has been received positively by students, who claim the class has expanded their views on society and improved their ability to remain open minded. The class is currently taught as a semester elective course by Ms. Kirkpatrick, and features a number of guest speakers and a few field trips to supplement the in-class instruction.

“It talks about basically all those issues, from a little bit of past to modern day events and occurrences. We talk about anything that ties into either of those two topics [diversity and multiculturalism]” said Kirkpatrick. “We have units on Identity in a Multicultural Society, LGBT Perspectives, Immigrant Perspectives, the Role of the Media, Race Issues, and we end with Activism in the US. We try to make it more on a community level than just at the school.”

Kirkpatrick also discussed the educational value of the field trips and speakers.

“In the spring we’re going to the African American museum of culture and history,” she said. “We already went to the Tenement Museum for the immigrant perspective during that unit, and we have a number of guest speakers. I think it’s a great way for students to learn more about their community and other cultures. Overall, it’s a great addition to the collection of social studies courses, and I encourage anyone with questions to reach out to me.”