Generation Z hungers to be heard

Photo by Alexis Steagall

By Nydia Ramos, Editor in Chief

The last four years have been a fight for social justice.

Movements upon movements have been sparked such as #MeToo, the March For Our Lives, the ongoing Environmental Justice Movement and more. Behind these widespread movements has been a growing and unstoppable force of people: teens. Teenagers have been joining together and speaking up for what they believe in, taking stands and making changes. Students at Indian Trail High School & Academy have been a perfect example of those teens who dive right in to these movements.

From the walkout that took place March 2018, in honor of the March For Our Lives movement, to ongoing projects that contribute to the Environmental Justice Movement, such as the E-Waste project, students have been making strides in the Indian Trail community to be the change they’ve wanted to be for so long.

Even the everlasting war of gender equality has had its battle at KUSD that resulted in the infamous dress code change. This was sparked by IT students in the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Club. During the school year of 2017-18, the club members attended school district board meetings to peacefully protest and ask for a reform in the district’s dress code.   

“When you know you’ve affected the people around you, it really does feel good. Getting the dress code changed was probably the most important thing I’ve helped to do,” said Lily Evans, a General Studies senior and co-president of Indian Trail’s Women’s Rights and Empowerment Club.

Stemming from students in the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Club as well, was Indian Trail’s rendition of the March For Our Lives national walkout that occurred on March 14, 2018. Led by then-presidents of the club, Molinna Bui and Alicia Lorta, around 300 students marched out of Indian Trail in protest of gun violence. 

“They did it in the right way – they organized, discussed their plans with administration…  they showed their peers how to protest, not riot, and that there are people who share their ideas and will listen,” said Katie Phillips, IT English teacher and adviser of the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Club., who thinks that it is not only important for teens to speak their truths but to speak them in a responsible way.

To further Indian Trail’s reputation of community involvement, there is the ongoing E-Waste project. Run by Megan Awe and her students in her AP Environmental Science class, the project raises awareness to the toxic electronic waste being dumped into the environment. Bins were placed around the school to encourage students to get rid of waste responsibly. A General Studies senior in the class, Anamay Del Real, said smaller scale projects are important too.

“I think even helping them realize [the problem] is important, and then maybe they’ll tell their friends about it and hopefully it’ll do something bigger,” said Del Real.

Evans suggests why teens have been getting behind these societal issues more and more in recent years.

“More teens are joining in because of social media. Teens and young adults learn more about what’s going on in the world, and though many times there’s fake news, we get to form our own opinions and see what’s really out there for us to explore,” said Evans.

Others see the reason behind teens growing involvement in social movements as a matter of them addressing serious issues that can no longer be ignored, issues that have existed for years and years but are now reaching their peak. People can longer turn a blind eye to them.

“I think it’s people actually seeing the effects of what’s happening, whether it be gun violence or environmentally with global warming, it’s kind of past the point of ignorance and being able to set it aside,” said Del Real.