Published on Nov. 6, 2019
Engaging In Activism
Students continue to participate in protests, both on and off campus.
By Sarah Amani
“Our planet is literally dying.”
Senior Delilah Martinez shares her concerns when it comes to the fate of our planet. But she is not the only one who has taken a stand over the years. The clock is ticking but our own students have taken it upon themselves to use their voices in events such as marches and clubs activities to represent their beliefs and opinions on pressing issues in order to be heard.
On Sept. 20, a group of students from the Green Club and their advisors, English teachers Kaedan Peters and Jessica Vaughn, participated in the Global Climate Strike. They marched across the streets of San Francisco wielding posters and megaphones in hopes of invoking change among our communities to stand against climate change. Instead of attending school that day, students prioritized the march, it’s significance overriding the petty absence they would receive afterwards.
The Sept. 20 Climate Strike is one of the few instances of student activism from the AHS community in the past few years. Last spring students partook in the climate change awareness walkout while In March 2018 students participated in the gun control walkout as well.
“It’s really cool to see so many students come to together to see that it’s not a scary thing to be apart of."
English and ELD teacher and fellow advisor of the Green Club, Jessica Vaughn, applauds the students who attended the march while acknowledging the amount of responsibility it holds.
“It takes a level of courage to get involved in politics in such a public manner.”
The president of the Green Club, sophomore Jennifer Leung, feels that although there has been a lack of student involvement in previous years, she has noticed a gradual increase recently.
“It’s a start that we do walkouts because it shows support [among students],” Leung said. “This year I have seen a lot of clubs about student action such as our club [Green Club] or Red Cross Club.”
Martinez states that her intentions justify her absence from school.
“I missed school for a good cause, a good reason, and many students feel the same way.”
Even though her mindset represents the positive turnout from the march, other students may not attend for other reasons.
“People think we’re too young and may prevent others from attending by saying their voices won’t be heard,” Leung said.
Regardless of those claims, Leung calls students to push forth and disregard those accusations.
“You should show support for these issues because it makes an impact on our future,” Martinez said.
Like Martinez, Leung believes adults are the reason students are discouraged from wanting to participate in activism efforts.
“They think adults wouldn’t really consider their suggestions, even though it’s our future on the line,” Leung said.
But as of recently, our students are changing the tide in their favor to take measures into their own hands and the staff at AHS feel the same way.
Now, more than ever, Vaughn feels as though we are surrounded by a generation of students who want nothing more than to break the cycle of silence and pursue causes they resonate with.
“In the wake of both walkouts such as gun control and environmental issues, there is an upward progression happening among students,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn presumes there is another element that explains the rise in activism at AHS.
“Because students today can relate to so many political issues that are really hot button topics on the news, I see more students standing up to voice their opinions,” Vaughn said.
“I think the next step is to inform more people, make posters and tell people how they can get involved,” Leung said.
With two Green Clubs followed by a surplus of other student activist clubs on campus, the future of AHS is wistfully awaiting it’s next calling as students intend to participate in marches next year as well such as the women’s march and student walkouts .
“Why not? If you believe in something you should support that,” Martinez said. “My voice was heard, even though I’m just one person." •
Protesting Through the Years
Students voice their opinions in walkouts and marches over the course of the past few years.
March 2018 Gun Control Walkout at AHS
March 2018 Climate Justice Walkout at AHS
Sept. 2019 Global Climate Strike in San Francisco