On Feb. 26, Ben Carson High School had their first annual BCHS Social Justice and Equity Day. The event, Let's Make Waves 2021, featured guest speaker Erica B. Edwards, and assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Wayne State University.
“Social Justice and Equity Day is a great idea and long overdue,” said BCHS Dean of Culture Shannon Richardson.
Students participated in a day of student dialogue sessions facilitated by the BCHS Equity Team & Civil Rights Club instead of attending regular classes.
“I was super excited for Equity Day," BCHS Teacher Michelle Linkowski said. "As a member of the school's Equity Team, getting the opportunity to bring students into the conversation about how to make the school community more equitable and socially just is amazing. I loved that the we are incorporated student voice throughout the day, from gathering questions from the student body, having students on the panel discussion and helping moderate breakout sessions, and giving the student body the chance to discuss the questions about the school community they have with their peers.
"I am hoping we all learned and grew from the experience and that BCHS grows closer as a community."
Students were exposed to a variety of social justice issues and had a chance to participate in the discussions.
“I liked the fact that we actually discussed what African Americans accomplished instead of just what was done to them,“ BCHS senior Zykiya Terry said.
Senior Sumina Tasmin, a member of BCHS Civil Rights Club, was able to lead a panel discussion.
“I got a chance to talk to people about a subject that I am really passionate about," Tasmin said.
The day was made possible by the BCHS Equity Team and Civil Rights Club, which is supported by the district, school staff and school administration.
“From the feedback I received, the event was a huge success," BCHS Principal Dr. Sean Lively said. "We had over 250 participants. I heard from district office staff, BCHS staff and BCHS students and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
"I am so excited that we hosted such an important event of this size. I couldn't be more proud of our Staff Equity Team, our Student Diversity and Civil Rights Clubs, and all of our teachers that moderated chats and hosted small groups during the breakout sessions. We also had a phenomenal discussion panel."
Lively said the Equity Team has been a great addition to the BCHS community.
“This is the time to make a huge impact on social justice and equity for our school community and to build a community of upcoming leaders," he said. "Students can use this knowledge, discussion, and ability to build their skill set to make a mark on their community to establish a positive influence for those that come after them at BCHS."
Students agree the Equity Team and Make Waves Day 2021 was a great addition to BCHS.
“Not only was it a chance to learn something new but it also gave the students and staff a chance to talk about their experiences," Tasmin said. "Students and teachers were able to communicate with each other in a way they wouldn’t be able to in a class setting."