Students for Equality Club Works to Combat Discrimination


Brianna Deasy

Students for Equality, previously named Students Organized Against Racism (S.O.A.R.), is getting its message out to fight not only only racial discrimination, but also gender and other types of discrimination. The club was founded by Walpole High School senior and president Sherayna Louissaint. They meet weekly and are advised by English teacher Bailey Tighe.
“What inspired me to start this organization was just seeing what minority students had to go through in a predominantly white community like this,” Louissaint said.
Last year during the pep rally before Thanksgiving break, a meeting was held to give students an outlet to talk about the issues they had been facing. Louissaint heard all the different experiences from students of color attending Walpole High School.
“Sitting in that classroom during the pep rally and seeing all of their different feelings and reactions made me think, ‘Wow, we really need to do something about this’,” Louissaint said. “I felt like if nobody was going to do something about it, I needed to step up and take initiative and start the process.”
Louissaint, alongside the other members of the group, hopes to further spread their message by holding a soul food luncheon in the near future. Last year, one was held where teachers and members of the club brought in food from their specific background and sat down, talked and listened to music. This year, the club hopes to include more students in the luncheon, according to Tighe.
“We all have the same goalsequality for everyonenot just only race, but also gender discrimination, and any other form of discrimination,” Louissaint said.
Although hosting events, broadcasting on the morning news, and lining the school halls with posters helps to get the groups message out, gaining new members and strengthening their support is the most important.
“In terms of getting the message out from this group, we try to get as many people as possible to come every week,” Tighe said.
Students for Equality meets every Monday at 2:15 p.m. in Tighe’s room, 2132. Although the students hold several controversial discussions addressing discrimination of all kinds, they strive to be emphatic towards everyone.
“We have these rules that we use to talk about race, and one is to keep it personal, local and immediate, which addresses what we can accomplish right here,” Tighe said. “Having these conversations is important, and the more people that get included in the conversation, the better it is.”
Students for Equality is working to further spread their message throughout the school and community in hopes of broadening the acceptance of all students at WHS.
“I want to help out the best I can because I want to help people really start to understand racial discrimination,” senior member Javon Jackson said. “Who doesn’t want to be part of a solution?”