Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Social Justice Club??

I’ve been checking out high schools in my area as of late. Not that I think my kids are going to jump a few grades, but more so because I am a high school science teacher and I’m hoping to familiarize myself with the nearby schools in the hopes that one day I might find myself once again employed.

As I looked through the many activities and extra curricular groups each school offered, I was pleasantly surprised to see that some actually have a Social Justice Club! Wow! How great is that?

Empathy breeds a desire to change. Who else is as idealistic as an enthusiastic, energetic high school student!

Our local paper has at times mentioned various school groups doing something for the greater good and I’m always so impressed. Sure, for lots of kids, getting involved raising funds for something or rallying for something might just be something they are doing as part of a peer group. However, many of these kids will be taking something truly to heart and be truly moved to continue what they’ve started.

When I was in high school, there was no social justice group, I don’t think I would have had a clue what social justice even was. No one was raising funds for any grand cause beyond safe grad. Perhaps other schools were a little more involved here, but mine was not. I was happily one of the music geeks and was content in my little world. I guess they’re now called gleeks? (Although the glee kids make it look so much cooler than I remember ever being).

The paper this week and last week ran an article and editorial on Eva Olsson. A lady in her late 80’s who is a holocaust survivor. She has written a book (which I’ve requested our library to consider obtaining) and goes around the country giving talks on her experiences. She talks about bullying and the damage caused by bigotry and hatred. Adolf Hitler being the ultimate bully.

Our world is full of bullies. Not just the school ones, but everywhere you look someone is being squashed down by someone bigger, stronger or with more money. Africa’s conflicts are full of bullies, but North America has so many too.

I am so impressed with these schools that have groups dedicated to raising awareness & empathy. Teens are the perfect advocates as many of their views have not been tainted by the harsh realities of life. Idealism sets the perfect stage for empathy.

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