Affinity Groups FAQ
What is an affinity group?
An affinity group is defined in Merriam Webster as “a group of people having a common interest or goal or acting together for a specific purpose.”
There are existing frameworks for affinity groups in a variety of independent schools, university alumni groups, and workplaces and corporations.
Why is an affinity group beneficial?
An affinity group can provide a safe space for participants to share their experiences, and to experience positive identity exploration, self-awareness, pride, community, and self-esteem in connecting with other people of similar interests, backgrounds, and experiences.
Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, explains in this magazine article that “affinity groups offer a platform for voices often relegated to the margins.” The article also addresses the question of whether the structure of affinity groups in school is itself separatist and racist, by explaining: “The reason why affinity groups exist in the first place isn’t because students want to segregate themselves from the rest of the population… but because the population is excluding them to begin with. Gathering in safe spaces around shared identity allows students to engage in conversations about how they can subvert the structures that push them to the margins. In turn, these conversations “push the school to be more social-activist-oriented and less assimilationist-oriented.”
In the article “How Racial Affinity Groups Saved My Life,” Trina Moore-Southall, Director of Equity and Inclusion at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, provides her perspective on the role of affinity groups and, more broadly, to the experience of people of color in independent schools.
What affinity groups does King offer for Upper School students?
Many of the Upper School students who attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) helped to forge a program of affinity groups to help our community. The existing affinity groups include:
- The LGBTQIA+ Affinity group (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic
- The LGBTQIA+ affinity group is meant to cultivate a safe space, and community where people who identify as LGBTQIA+ can discuss identity, sexuality, and the problems they face, all for the betterment of one another. Adult Advisor: Elisa Shapiro.
- The Students of Color Affinity Group (SOCAG)
- The SOCAG affinity group is meant to cultivate a safe space and community where students who identify as persons of color can discuss their own experiences, challenges, and issues that they confront as people and students of color. Adult Advisor: Adam Boaz.
- The Jewish Students Affinity Group (JSAG)
- The JSAG affinity group is meant to be a safe space where people who identify as Jewish can connect and share concerns. People will discuss what it means to be Jewish to different people, learn about the history behind the religion, and the stereotypes that could be affecting people daily at school and in our lives. Adult Advisors: Daniel Block and Lindsey Rossler.
- The Asian American and Pacific Islander Affinity Group (AAPI) The AAPI affinity group is meant to cultivate a safe space and community among individuals who identify with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders where they can discuss identity, lived experiences, challenges, and issues they encounter and confront as individuals of AAPI descent. Adult Advisors: Mi Chau (firstname.lastname@example.org); Rebaca Varghese (email@example.com)
What affinity groups does King offer for Middle School students?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating in the group.
Students of Color at King (SOCK)
- A group designed as a safe space for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) on our campus to talk about current events and matters at King related to the joys as well as challenging experiences of being a Person of Color. Adult advisors: Lakeya Graves and Jennifer Guevara.
- Jewish Student Union (JSU)
- A group designed as a safe space for students who identify as Jewish who would like to discuss matters related to pride in their ethno-religious identity as well as share common experiences related to current events, anti semitism, and/or other matters related to the experience of Jewish students at King.
- LGBTQIA+ & Allies (MS PRIDE)
- A group designed as a safe space for students who identify as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual) as well as their allies to discuss current events, matters of homophobia / transphobia, and all manner of experiences related to the Queer community.
What affinity groups does King offer for alumni?
We are currently partnering with our alumni to offer the affinity groups listed below and to offer the opportunity for Alumni to suggest additional Alumni Association affinity groups for King to consider. Alumni can indicate their interest in an affinity group by completing this form.
Black Alumni Group (where those who identify as Black can share conversation and engage around shared identities and interests)
Alumni of Color Group ( where those who identify as a person of color can share conversation and engage around shared identities and interests)
Cross Racial Alumni Group for Social Justice (where any alumni interested in discussing social justice topics can share conversation)
Alumnae Group (where those who identify as women can share conversation and engage around shared identities and interests)
LGBTQIA+ Alumni Group (where those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic can share conversation and engage around shared identities and interests.)
How can I join an affinity group at King?
Upper School students: If you are interested in participating in an existing affinity group, please contact the adult advisors listed in the question above. Upper School students who are interested in creating a new affinity group, please contact Jonathan Coulombe.
Middle School students: If you are interested in participating in an existing affinity group, please contact the adult advisors listed in the question above. Middle School students who are interested in creating a new affinity group, please contact Stephanie Hoos.
Alumni: If you are interested in joining a King School Alumni Association Affinity Group, please complete this form.
Additional King community members: If you are interested in participating in an affinity group, please contact Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Clyde Beverly, III