With the recent resurgences of issues like #BlackLivesMatter and #StopAsianHate, people have been pushed to take a stand, dramatically raising awareness and setting this country on the track to an eventual solution. However, the question of who and how we can make a difference remains. This especially holds water for students, who admittedly do not have nearly as much influence as some other figures. Nevertheless, there are many ways that students can stand in solidarity and show their support for these movements.
One example would be for students to join clubs that promote awareness and political activity. Clubs like RHS Democrats have already hosted multiple events as well as giving students opportunities to volunteer, some of which are not only for BLM and Stop Asian Hate, but for matters like the election as well. Examples of these are holding phone banks in support of certain political candidates and promoting forums that allow students to discuss the current issues at hand, hosted by institutions like Montclair State University. RHS Democrats has also attended multiple protests and rallies such as the #StopAsianHate rally on April 10th. The RHS High Times itself can be another example because of the various topics that students write about to inform others of recent events as well as create more discussion within the student body by sharing their opinions in these articles.
Another way to make a difference is to take on social media. This can actually be seen in one of the biggest controversies of last year, which is none other than the killing of George Floyd. The role that social media played in achieving justice was crucial, as the only reason that the true nature of Floyd’s death was known was because a 17-year old girl named Darnella Frazier managed to film a video and upload it onto Facebook, according to the New York Times. Otherwise, the only source of information would have been the police report released by Minneapolis Police Department, which included a faulty account of the disturbing events that took place and pinned the blame on George Floyd instead, as stated by the Washington Post. The fact that a mere teenager was able to play a key role in reinforcing the movement against police brutality should serve as a reminder that anyone has the power to create change.
While it may be difficult at first to know where to start when it comes to student activism, the school and Ridgewood community provide ample opportunities, much more than people may realize. As long as students make the effort to put themselves out there and use their influence for the good of the community, they are making a difference.
Graphic: Ashlee Fong