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Students promote Social Justice through SSJLAC and Social Justice League

Before+the+SSJLAC+field+trip+to+the+history+museum%2C+students+Alyssa+Jackson%2C+Alyssa+Foy%2C+Bersabeh+Mesfin+and+Kristen+Canier+discuss+current+social+justice+topics+with+faculty+Lara+Boles+and+Carly+Roach.
Before the SSJLAC field trip to the history museum, students Alyssa Jackson, Alyssa Foy, Bersabeh Mesfin and Kristen Canier discuss current social justice topics with faculty Lara Boles and Carly Roach.

Before the SSJLAC field trip to the history museum, students Alyssa Jackson, Alyssa Foy, Bersabeh Mesfin and Kristen Canier discuss current social justice topics with faculty Lara Boles and Carly Roach.

Gabriel Weber

Gabriel Weber

Before the SSJLAC field trip to the history museum, students Alyssa Jackson, Alyssa Foy, Bersabeh Mesfin and Kristen Canier discuss current social justice topics with faculty Lara Boles and Carly Roach.

Gabriel Weber, Staff Writer

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With 62 school-sponsored extracurriculars, there is one which discusses current Social Justice issues and how to fix them in our school.

“We are putting in the effort to make our school a place that is suitable for everyone. Not enough people are represented, not everyone is taken care of,” junior Alyssa Foy said. “I wanted to make a difference and influence how diversity is viewed in our school.”

The Social Justice League’s student run counterpart Superintendent’s Social Justice Leadership Advisory Council (SSJLAC) meets five to six times a year at the Instructional Services Center and advocates for social justice issues as well, the difference being you have to apply to join the council of eight members.

“[SSJLAC] really is for everyone and it is helpful to students for getting along and learning from each other. When Social Justice topics come up, people think more of giving their opinion, but it is also listening because listening is learning,” Sponsor Carly Roach said. “Listening is underrated because you always learn something when talking to anyone because they are different that you no matter what. It is always good to consider another perspective.”

Social justice efforts continue to take form through a variety of events. For example, the Social Justice League and SSJLAC collaborated November of 2017 on Seeing Through A Different Lens Day, in which Social Justice club members made $105 for West Chest, an organization to help in need students, by selling stickers to students.

“The stickers allowed participants to wear sunglasses during the day, to remind people to look at others through empathetic eyes and see beyond stereotypes. [Seeing Through A Different Lens Day] helped to learn other’s stories, understand where they are coming from, and feel like you are working toward a climate of compassion towards all,” Boles said.

Although numbers in the club have since dwindled from the beginning of the year from 20 down to around six students currently because of spring activities and scheduling confusion, freshman Autumn Davenport has been with the club since the beginning of the year. She became aware of Social Justice League and SSJLAC when she moved from Florida, and is the only freshman member.

“It is kind of intimidating to be the only freshman,” Davenport said. “It can be uncomfortable because I feel like I am the only one with my opinions because I am more conservative, but that doesn’t stop me from speaking my mind.”

One of the goals for SSJLAC and the Social Justice League is supporting the students and acquiring leadership skills, while increasing their knowledge of history, politics and culture that contribute to students’ futures.

“I have learned from the students that attend SSJLAC and the Social Justice League just how much discrimination and stereotypes affect their lives. It is very valuable to be reminded by them about how hard it still is to be a minority and to face suspicion and judgement based on innate characteristics,” Boles said. “But these are the students that give me hope for the future because they are full of passion and knowledge and they will be leaders in college and beyond.”

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High
Students promote Social Justice through SSJLAC and Social Justice League