Student activism on the rise


graphic by Julia Henning

Maeve Hunt and Julia Henning

Student activism is on the rise at Annie Wright. Different student groups are promoting the national school walkout on March 14, the Save the Children Action Network, and a petition for Tacoma to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 students and teachers, students across the country plan to walk out of class at 10:00 am for 17 minutes to protest gun violence at school. In the March newsletter, Head of Schools Christian Sullivan wrote, “We will organize a revised schedule that will allow for all classes to take place during the day, but that facilitates a gap between 10 am and 10:30 am. At that time, US and MS students may choose to either join an organized peaceful parade on the front lawn in support of student and school safety, or attend a presentation and debate in the Chapel.”

These rough guidelines do not specifically dictate what students will do during the walkout. The Model UN and Community Service and Leadership activities are working together to plan three different options from 10-10:30. Upper School students and faculty may stand on the front lawn to participate in the walkout, head to the chapel for prayers, or to the Great Hall for a discussion.

Rayna Wolff and Gabrielle Grandjean, who are a part of the Save the Children Action Network are participating in another form of activism. According to them, “Scan is a network of students and advocates who are the political voice for children. We advocate for children’s rights to quality early learning programs and fight to put an end to deaths due to preventable diseases. As student ambassadors for SCAN, we discuss these issues in our community and with our representative on a state and federal scale.”

They are trying to promote what they do as a part of the network but also share an important act that they believe will make a difference. The Reach Every Mother and Child Act is a bipartisan bill that would help expand proven solutions to end these deaths within a generation. Wolff and Grandjean explained, “So many women are dying from easily curable diseases and pregnancy. This legislation gives our country the chance to continue its leadership and keep its promise to help end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths.”

Other members of the Model UN/Global Action activity are promoting a petition to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The group plans to visit the City Council and possibly the Mayor to help pass this legislation for Tacoma. Other cities, such as Seattle, Spokane, and Olympia, have changed the name.

MUN is also activating for a change in the handbook highlighting mental health and for funding to buy school supplies for Cambodian children.