In these past years, America has seen a rise in issues regarding LGBT rights, gun violence, and racism in our society. While some have sat back and were silent about their thoughts on these issues, there has been a rise in student voices being projected.
The students at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (DA) have been actively practicing activism, and more action has been taken in the recent years following a rise in major social and political issues. DA has held protests and given opportunities that are focused on social justice. It is these events that happen throughout the year that help the students grow their advocacy, becoming the educated citizens of tomorrow.
“I always tell students to speak out on what they believe,” said Michael Steinhardt, social studies teacher. “Most of the efforts [to grow student involvement] have been given to students to have a voice and we’ve grown in increasing avenues with most of them being student-led.”
At DA, many students claim to have a profound interest in social issues ranging from LGBT rights to gun violence. The school offers its students outlets to practice their activism with student clubs and organizations such as the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), Community Service Club, the DA Interact Club, and the DA for Change Club.
Jasper Colado, a visual arts junior, claims to be passionate about human rights and sees DA as a platform to express his advocacy.
“I feel like the diversity at DA provides a more open-minded place for ideas,” said Colado. “In GSA, they’re writing letters to representatives about their sexuality and identities so that their rights can still be supported.”
Administration and teachers all work together to provide what they believe to be some of the best ways for students to get involved.
Last year, DA held their own version of a walk-out protesting gun violence in schools. Instead of directly walking out of school, students came together on campus in the Amphitheater and protested with some students holding up signs they had made. Together, students had 20 minutes of silence. This built what some teachers saw as unity that they’ve been wanting their students to have.
“It’s important to teach students the appropriate way to have their voices heard,” said Melanie Hammer, principal.