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Schools

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Book display for school social justice week

Standing for Social Justice at My School

by Abigail Glickman

Every year, my high school hosts a Social Justice Week, and this year, I’m the primary organizer.

Photograph of a school classroom

Orating for Justice

by Naomi Bethune

Sometimes, we unintentionally challenge the way others think. This prompts dialogue, which is essential for creating change.

Topics: Activism, Schools
Poster for Rainbow Rams, a school gay-straight alliance club.

Building Inclusivity at My Jewish Day School

by Nina Baran

Until last year, when the club was first started, we didn’t have a GSA; we also don’t have any LGBTQ+ books, and students aren't aware of staff who are trained in LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

Rising Voices Fellow Lila Zinner in Fifth Grade

American Education: Classrooms, Competition, and Corruption

by Lila Zinner

This education system, this one-sided method of teaching, this constant competition, is not working.

Topics: Schools, Children
Rising Voices Fellow Molly Weiner's school cross country team

Look Fast

by Molly Weiner

The first step the female athletic community can take towards fostering healthier norms is to share stories collectively, to address a pain that is all too common.

Topics: Schools, Athletes
San Francisco DACA rally

Immigration Mythbusters: Starting the Conversation

by Amy Jarkow

In my opinion, the fall of DACA should have warranted the same amount of coverage in school as the increasingly frequent mass shootings happening in this country.

Topics: Schools, Immigration
Gay-Straight Alliance bulletin board

An Education in Allyship

by Emily Axelrod

As word spread about what we were trying to do, a number of students told us they were in support of a GSA and would definitely participate if we succeeded in creating it.

Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin Leading School Walkout

Leadership as an Answer to Privilege

by Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin

Because of my privilege, I had a head start: I knew where I was going, and I had support. I still had to work hard and set goals for myself, but I recognize that privilege is one of the things that has helped me get where I am today.

Topics: Schools, Writing
Stock Photo of "I Voted" Stickers

Voting: Still a Right, Right?

by Emma Nathanson

Typically, walking through the doors of my high school gym brings on a feeling of dread, accompanied by the smell of body odor and wet paint. When I walked into the gym this past November, however, the only thing I felt was excitement. On the day of the 2018 Midterm Elections, I had decided to spend my Tuesday afternoon and evening as an election official, helping voters register, cast ballots, and, most importantly, go home with an “I Voted!” sticker proudly affixed to their shirts.

Inside of Quincy Market

My Power is My Privilege

by Naomi Bethune

Power and privilege have always played, and will continue to play, a very significant role in my life. As a biracial, Jewish woman, my life has always been complicated, and oftentimes, confusing. That being said, I acknowledge and know I have an incredible amount of privilege.

Milk Carton

Open Conversations and Dairy Products

by Ilana Jacobs

“Where are you thinking about going to college?” I’ve been asked this question by almost everyone I know. It feels like after your bat mitzvah, there’s a second rite of passage that no one tells you about: college decisions. Since the winter of Junior year, every conversation seems to take a turn towards schools. The question, “How are you?” has been replaced with, “How are the applications coming?”

Ruby Russell in First Grade

Who Gets To Choose

by Ruby Russell

In 2007, with long chestnut pigtails sprouting from the sides of my head, I attended my first day of kindergarten at a public school just outside of Boston. I was enrolled in what was called the Choice Program, an institution that four years later would implode with scandal.

Topics: Schools, Children
Math Equations on a Chalkboard

Mind Your Own Business

by Molly Weiner

My accelerated math class has nearly twice as many boys as girls. There are only five of us. I’m no stranger to a good mansplaining, or to feeling like an anomaly in a math bros club. While many interactions in Honors Precalc make me feel like a fish out of water, a comment like “mind your own business” really highlights just how different it is to be a girl in an advanced math class.

Topics: Schools, Mathematics
2017 NYC Women's March

Gaping Ideologies at Whole Foods

by Mirabel Sandler

I’ve spent my formative years in various liberal bubbles, shielded from the reality of a bigoted and unaccepting America. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in New York City, a progressive hub and notoriously accepting city, to spend five summers at Eisner Camp, a Reform Jewish camp where we often discuss gun violence prevention, and to attend the progressive Temple Shaaray Tefila my whole life.

Word Collage

Dyslexia, the World, and Me

by Nina Baran

When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. My parents were told that I’d need extensive therapy in order to read and write. At five, I never thought I would read. I threw books on the ground and refused to even try. I would yell, “I don’t need to read! I hate reading!” over and over again.

Madison, Wisconsin

This is Not My Story

by Emma Nathanson

Besides its bike-friendly status, Madison also has a reputation for being incredibly liberal. You can’t go one block in Madison without spotting a Prius sporting a bumper sticker in support of a Democratic candidate. Often, Madison feels like an insulated left-leaning bubble within red Wisconsin.

Topics: Activism, Schools
Lila Zinner in Fifth and Eleventh Grade

Reclaiming “Bossy”: How Sexism Shaped Who I Am

by Lila Zinner

As a child, I was loud and outspoken. I prided myself on my intelligence and eagerness to learn; I truly had killer confidence. I told people I was going to be “the dictator of the world” when I grew up. But as time went on, it became increasingly apparent that the education system didn’t have room for a personality like mine. Well, at least when that personality belonged to a girl.

The Personal is Political

Politically Personal: Personally Political

by Ava Berkwits

To me, being a feminist means working to achieve equity for all members of society, confronting personal bias, alleviating institutional sexism, and prompting others to do the same. There are so many ways feminism manifests itself in my life, but until freshman English class, I didn’t even think to consider one of the most significant ways that I’m involved in political feminism.

Topics: Feminism, Schools
Anti-Semitic Graffiti

May the Faith Be With You

by Emma Nathanson

Because I didn’t have support, because I felt alone, I didn’t confront my teacher about his words that day or about the lack of Holocaust education. I didn’t take a stand, either, when I found the words “JEW HUNTER” scrawled on the leg of a desk. Nor did I speak up when I found the same horrifying phrase on a different desk a few weeks later.

March for Our Lives NYC

Rising From the Ashes

by Rachel Harris

April 19th was a day of highs and lows. During the day, school was abuzz. Everyone was talking about the next day’s school walkout (planned in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida)–whether they were going to do it, what they thought the punishments might be, if they were going to be in our local newspaper…my phone was on fire with texts from the organizers’ group chat. We planned to meet that day after school. We sat in the conference room, excitedly discussing who was bringing what, and writing the post for the Facebook event. I went home, giddy and anxious. My leg bounced under my kitchen table while I worked on my homework, my trademark nervous habit. I worried that no one would show up, or that everyone would get in trouble and blame me, or that it would rain really hard. My foot bounced faster. My phone dinged, bringing me out of my reverie.

Topics: Activism, Schools
Daniella Shear Outside Elementary School

The Day School Question

by Daniella Shear

There’s a lot to think about when choosing schools for your kids: private or public, religious or secular, co-ed or single sex. Parents try to make the best choice for their child and for their family with the resources they have. It’s impossible for a parent to know what the best fit will be for their four or five-year-old for the next 13 years, so ultimately they just have to choose a school and hope for the best.

Gann Academy Teacher Amy Newman

My Jewish Studies Teacher Is My Favorite Jewish Feminist

by Julia Clardy

At every school, in every subject, there’s a certain teacher who everyone hopes to see on their class list in the fall. At Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts, in the Jewish Studies department, that teacher is Amy Newman. I’ve been lucky enough to have her two years in a row, making me the object of much envy from my peers, but she is truthfully one of the most exceptional educators I’ve ever met. Amy is incredibly knowledgeable, gracious, and funny, and she makes a sincere effort to let her students into her life and teaching process as much as she can.

Cast of Twilight

A Sparkling Vampire Ruined My Love Life

by Natalie Harder

When I was 11 I fell in love for the first time. He was funny and cute, dorky in the most endearing way, loyal to a fault, a bit of a spaz, very, very fictional, and went by the name of Ron Weasley. Real boys had cooties, so, in fifth grade, most of us preferred the fictional ones. Harry Potter and his best friend Ron Weasley, Troy Bolton from High School Musical (man, was Zac Efron a cutie)... Above all else, we loved Edward Cullen and Jacob Black, the love interests of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga. 

Topics: Schools, Film, Fiction
Cooking Woman

Kitchen Culture and Me

by Tamar Cohen

I have this memory where I'm five and it's Thanksgiving, or I'm 12 and it's Chanukah, or I'm 15 and in AP World History. They're all the same memory, and there are more. Almost every year of my public-school education, there has been some kind of school celebration of cultural and ethnic diversity. The common factor in these celebrations is food, because what better way to bring a diverse (and generally uninterested) group of students together?

Man Wearing Native American Headdress

Inappropriate Appropriation

by Sofia Heller

My classmates started posting pictures from last year’s Coachella, their excitement for the music festival illuminating my phone screen. However, amidst all the elation, I couldn’t help but notice the troubling cultural appropriation that also filled the pictures. In the backgrounds of nearly every photo I saw, there were young women wearing bindis and feathered headdresses, and young men wearing war paint. Unfortunately, this insensitivity to and misappropriation of cultures is not specific to Coachella, nor is it a new problem in fashion.

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