A beginning for the EDIJ committee at ASD

A+beginning+for+the+EDIJ+committee+at+ASD

Ranad B., Senior Editor-in-Chief

As the new year begins, the hybrid model and social distancing rules are not the only changes the school has implemented during the Coronavirus epidemic; the administration has officially begun a new school-wide initiative in an effort to help make students and staff feel safer. This committee is known as the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice Task Force (abbreviated EDIJ); this new initiative actively tries to combat any inequalities that may pop up in the school to make the school’s diverse population feel more accepted.

Ms. Sherri Fergus, in an interview, explained the goals of this initiative, why it was started, and what the committee is currently working on. 

The group serves as a voice for all students and faculty about various issues in the diverse school community and to ensure the equality of all students and staff.

The committee is made up of multiple volunteer members, including staff members, faculty members, and students. Additionally, all of them are from different divisions in the school to make sure that all grade levels are protected and included in discussions.

Now, what has this committee been doing in an effort to achieve its goals in the high school? As the committee is quite new and has just begun this year, many plans and initiatives are still underway and under revision. Despite this, the committee has been collaborating with multiple clubs in an effort to unify the school and fight for the inclusion of all students. Specifically, the committee has been in talks with STUCO, the high school student council, the African Student Union, and the Unity Club, all of which share the same goals towards equality as the committee. Additionally, the committee engages in regular meetings to plan for the future so they can begin implementing initiatives or events they think of to support the community.

Instagram comments found under the ASD instagram post regarding their support for equality.

Surprisingly, the EDIJ started due to an Instagram post last year. In June, a series of protests were ignited by the unjust death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of police officers in America. In response to this, ASD posted a comment to show support for the protests standing up for Floyd, but this post ignited a series of comments from the ASD community. These posts revealed a torrent of stories by alumni and students that felt like they were not included or heard. These many comments and posts led ASD to rethink its actions toward preventing racism and eventually led to them beginning this committee in the school to address racial and cultural issues present in the school.

As a result, the committee has been taking a look at the different aspects of the school, with a pointed focus on the type of language being used in class, along with reviewing which books are studied in order to prevent discomfort for students. As Ms. Fergus eloquently put it, the admin “can’t ignore the fact that this is happening,” which is why she believes they must face this issue head-on.

Most are holding their breath as they wait to see what will happen and whether the committee will truly succeed in their goals. What this committee plans to do from now, though, will be determined by the staff and students alike. A form was made and sent out for the ASD community to use to report any issues regarding equality or otherwise to the HS principals (Report Form). Although the situation may not be perfect now, the ASD community hopes that with the emergence of this new taskforce, things may begin to get better for all the students and staff at the school 

To conclude, this valuable task force gives a chance for voices to speak up, and for those who can make a change to listen. In a final note, Ms. Fergus stated, “I think that the thing we forget sometimes is that everyone has different perspectives and that it’s important to listen. We may not always agree, but I think it’s a matter of hearing and sharing perspectives.”

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