Cultural Sashes: one graduate’s project toward change one gallon at a time

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For many students, graduation is a celebration of accomplishment and hard work. For Sebastian Araujo, a recently graduated senior at Canoga Park High School, graduation was also a celebration of family history, heritage and immigration.

The ceremony, held for graduating students of both Canoga Park High School and Owensmouth Extension School created an environment for new generations of Americans to receive their high school diplomas, an opportunity that their parents and relatives did not have.

After seeing videos of ICE agents destroying the water volunteers had left in the desert for immigrants, Araujo wanted to find a way to raise money to replace the water that had been destroyed while allowing his classmates and community to show pride in their immigration stories. A project that was originally intended to be a gift for a friend become an event called Cultural Sashes where students and teachers were able to buy sashes that represented the countries they immigrated from to wear at graduation.

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