Students should value action over labels

Sofia Sant’Anna-Skites, Opinion Editor

While students may label themselves as liberals, allies or activists, many don’t fully participate in the fight for equity.

Attending marches for justice and raising awareness about important issues through social media are steps in the right direction, but they are not enough. History teacher and SOAR sponsor Corey Winchester explains that labels don’t indicate that a student is actually doing any work. Many students either fail to acknowledge their responsibilities as so-called “liberals” or only step in to help when it’s convenient to do so.

SOAR (Students Organize Against Racism) pushes peers to engage in and understand equity work. The board consists of 15 students who host conferences under Winchester’s supervision. Approximately 3.8 percent of the total student population attended the fall conference.

Since the vast majority of students chose to not attend a conference, ETHS should have a seminar day much like the one hosted at New Trier. Having students attend workshops, participate in discussions and listen to qualified speakers would open doors to further education and action.

There was controversy at New Trier because some parents believed that the seminar day excluded “conservatives” from the discussion. However, such a program would not force anyone to act or to change their beliefs. Instead, it would expose a larger number of students to the problems of racial injustice in our community and in the greater scope of the world.

SOAR has already established successful grounds upon which the entire school should build. Winchester says that the SOAR group plans to increase programming and make sure they are sustained institutionally. SOAR has done a lot for students, but it is up to school administrators to take the next steps in providing education regarding racial inequity in our society.