A Demand for Justice

A+Demand+for+Justice

Maggie Ngo, Staff Writer

On Thursday, October 20th, the Revolutionary Equity Council (REC) at Waltham High School posted a video addressing recent racist, Islamaphobic, and sexist comments and incidents that they have heard recently around the school. The REC met and decided to organize a walkout. 

“It’s not just the fact that [these incidents] have happened in the past few weeks, but it’s also the way the administration has responded, or failed to respond to them,” said Abbey Ngo, Asain Student Union executive board member, and one of the student leaders of REC. When these comments were presented to the admin, they did not do much to protect or help the student that was the victim. On the contrary “the administration was quick to protect the perpetrator before the victim.”

Students organizing the walkout were concerned whether students were going to walk out because they support the cause or just to skip class. Ngo said that to combat this issue they are having students first meet in the cafeteria to ensure people don’t just leave to their cars. That way, “If someone doesn’t go to the pit, it will be noticeable.” The concern persists that students could just walk to the pit to get out of class.

“If students go to the pit and they are there to skip class, hopefully they will listen to the guest speakers and understand why this is happening, and understand why this is such a pressing issue, and hopefully be inspired to get behind the cause,” said Ngo.

“We are walking out to demonstrate that when students don’t feel safe in our school environment, we will remove ourselves from the environment that is causing us harm,” said REC members in the posted video. Walking out is a way for students to stand up for themselves and fellow classmates. It is a way to show that “We [people of color] are needed in academic spaces. Our voices are powerful, our perspectives are necessary, when we are forced to leave the classroom, Waltham High School misses out on significant learning opportunities, not us.” 

One freshman talked about her nerves when it comes to participating in this protest. She mentioned that she “[has] heard about previous walkouts that have happened in schools and [she has] heard about very bad consequences for people that participate.” This caused her to be tentative to partake in the walkout. After being assured that people participating in this protest could not get in trouble by doing so, this freshman decided to take part in this protest. 

The actual walkout took place on Wednesday, October 26th. On the day of the walkout students wore black to show their solidarity to the cause. At exactly 12:50 pm, students walked out of their classrooms and gathered in the cafeteria. Members of REC explained the agenda for the afternoon, and then everyone walked out to the pit. At the pit there were many inspiring speeches by students and teachers about their experiences with admin in school when addressing anti-racism. Mr. Braggs, the principal of Waltham High School, stated that “it’s not just the administrators, but everybody needs to help create this change.”

We as a community have to put in the effort to create the change that we want to see. It was overall a truly inspiring afternoon, and the message was spread throughout the school, and we are already starting to see changes in the school.”

REC posted a poll on their Instagram story asking which demand people wanted them to work on first. The demand selected was “Creating a system for reporting incidents of inequality.” They are going to post a form that students will be able to fill out to report incidents that they observe or were involved in. This is the first step that is being taken, and hopefully many more will come in the future.