EHS on Racial Equality and Diversity
A few months ago, I was scrolling through Instagram when a suggested account called “@pocatedgemont” popped up in my recommended page. I clicked and saw posts of anonymous quotes from Edgemont students and alumni sharing their stories of racist encounters in our town. I was most shocked to see so many stories of racism taking place right here in our community; I realized our school still has some work to do regarding this matter. The goal of @pocatedgemont is to spread awareness within our community about moments of racism that people may overlook or not even realize are occurring.
As a result of the BLM movement, the topic of whether racial diversity and equality really exists has been brought into the limelight. One of our school’s main focuses this year is to create more diversity and racial equality. Many who are passionate about bringing change had chances to join the summer book clubs and the Justice Forum. I participated in the Racial Injustice Book Club and we read All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds, and Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson.
All American Boys tells the story of a black teenage boy named Rashad who is assaulted by a white cop and falsely accused of burglary. Quinn, a white classmate, witnesses the event but feels he cannot speak up due to his relationship with the cop. We related Quinn’s actions to people who choose to stay silent when it comes to BLM; right now speaking up is the most important form of alliance, as silence only helps the oppressor. In a sense, choosing “not get political” constitutes getting political when it comes to Black Lives Matter.
Just Mercy is a book compiling the different cases Bryan Stevenson worked with as he was a lawyer who dedicated his work to helping minorities in the criminal justice system. Just Mercy gives an inside look on the perspectives of the inmates, a point of view that is not given enough attention in these matters.
We talked about the BLM protests, along with the pros and cons of the response from the media (opinions are all too often correlated to what is shown on television or on the Internet. The Justice Forum provided a way for students to share their perspectives regarding Edgemont’s concerns relating to diversity and equality. Many spoke on wanting to be more educated on systemic racism in addition to EHS acknowledging ongoing issues regarding racism. The Forum highlighted how “uncomfortable conversations” are an essential step to fixing the problems related to racism in our community. EHS also participated in this year’s diversity job fair in order to create a more varied candidate pool when hiring faculty.
You can probably tell by now that this summer, school has acted upon their aim of creating more ethnic diversity and facing the problems that prejudice can create.