Activist Club continues to engage students amid pandemic

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Photo courtesy Aashna Singh

The Activist Club meeting on Sept. 25 looked different than usual, but the new normal is a Zoom call.

During this online school year, the Activists Club, led by president and senior Aashna Singh, has held presidential debate watches over Zoom to engage members in meaningful discussions about current events.

Online school has impacted extracurriculars this year. Students and staff have reacted to being in online classrooms in different ways. There are students who feel as though online school has had a positive impact on their education. However, it cannot replace being in a classroom physically. “Online education is a new challenge for me. In some ways, it has been an excellent opportunity for me to explore new resources and be more creative in my lessons,” club sponsor and Spanish teacher Tamara Hounshell said.

Club activities have adapted to an online setting. To stay active, the Activists have used Zoom to continue having meetings. “We usually run our meetings with recaps and full group discussions of current events,” Singh said.

The Activists have prioritized voter registration of students and have worked with local organizations such as Wootton4Change on voter registration efforts. “In the election, we have been stressing the importance of local elections, facilitating and advertising voter registration efforts, hosting debate watch parties/bingos, and offering several opportunities for members to get involved in campaigning and phone banking,” Singh said.

In the past, the Activists have held other student activism events. During the club’s Activism Night, representatives and students have discussions, money is raised for Rock the Vote, students give speeches and several community political organizations attend.

I hope to go to rallies, and learn how to be a better activist.”

— Jacob Felman

During the SMOB forum, students are given the opportunity to have a voice in Maryland Board of Education issues. Walkouts and protests have also been led by the activists, but will be independent this year due to the pandemic. “I hope to go to rallies, and learn how to be a better activist,” freshman Jacob Felman said.

This year, the Activists have also prioritized the Black Lives Matter movement. The club has been actively sharing resources through their social media, and members have independently attended protests over the summer. “Our organization has been an active supporter of racial equity in all issues, including in educational equity and boundary analyses,” Singh said.

The Activists have made it their goal to get students politically active in their community and in national issues. Although the Activists are a non-partisan club and have not affiliated with either party during this election year, members are encouraged to advocate for issues that they feel are important, especially issues within the community. “I was referred to this club by a colleague. I took interest in it because it is important for our students to be informed and involved in what is currently happening in our country,” Hounshell said.