June 20, 2020
It has been a tough year so far. From COVID-19 changing the way we live and forcing us to re-evaluate our priorities, to the protests within the United States sparking a global introspection regarding how we deal with race in our daily lives. Over the past few days, I have been watching/reading/inhaling the coverage surrounding the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States. All around me I am seeing people stand up for what they believe in by pledging allegiance to a movement that has become too big to ignore. At the same time, I worry that this is simply not enough. Posting a few words of condolence or using a hashtag does not result in actual, measurable change. If it were that easy, all sorts of inequalities and injustices would have been eradicated by now.
Change takes effort, time, and commitment. It is not supposed to be easy or momentary. It is, however, meant to make you question how you lived your life before, what beliefs you have had, and how you plan to live your life now that you no longer have the privilege of being ignorant.
Over here at The High, during our virtual meetings, we have pondered how we can play a role in fostering a productive discussion about race within our school. We each spoke of our frustrations with the shortcomings of the actions in the past that the school has taken, as well as the infamous group chats and discussions that we have all been a part of at some point in time. A recurring theme was the fact that we felt that often within such discussions, the focus is on a minority within our school, and our world, who choose to perpetuate racially insensitive ideas and language. We recognized that this is not how the majority of people at ISL feel. However, because of the culture of ostracism that has been created around people who are ‘snitches’ or ‘too sensitive’, a majority of the people choose to remain quiet.
We understand the power we have, as a publication, to direct the narrative within our school. We also understand the responsibility that comes with that power.
So, for the first time, we are choosing to highlight the voices of the majority within our school, rather than the minority. Through this letter-writing campaign, our aim is to allow people, whose voices we don’t normally hear, to express their experiences and sentiments as a student at ISL on this specific issue.
I can already foresee some backlash to this initiative, naming it as an ‘attack on white people’. It is not. It is a chance for everyone within this community to hear a perspective different from their own. It is a chance for you to decide and understand what is right and fair – and to consciously make a change to be different from the generations of people before you.
This issue is also meant to be a compilation of the work that The High has been enthusiastically doing while in quarantine. You may recognize some articles from our online editions and you will also see some new articles as well.
Either way, I hope you enjoy this issue and as always, I hope that you continue to read, engage, reflect, and challenge us as a publication.