Students on the Human Rights Council work to promote equity


Annie Tango, Features editor

Student activists work hard to institute change at North, whether it be organizing rallies or offering tutoring sessions. The Human Rights Council (HRC) works to bring these agents of change together to inspire a more equitable North community.

The HRC is a staff-supported student organization where students can collaborate to fight for antiracism, anti-bias, and activism, according to English teacher Michelle Leong, the adviser. Students work together to advocate for improvements to school policies and North’s community’s environment.

“I just love the fact that we are helping the North community feel more inclusive and we are bringing awareness to important topics that others would not have been,” said junior Elizabeth Qian-Tsuchida, a member.

The HRC is made up of students who are committed to antiracism, human rights, and equity work, according to Qian-Tsuchida.

“The goal of HRC is to make changes at North to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through collaboration,” she said.

In order to meet this goal, the council brainstorms ideas for projects that make a difference to the community. The council meets every week during Leong’s Wednesday WIN. Students work together to bring the projects to life within the school, according to Qian-Tsuchida.

“It’s very collaborative and discussion-based. We often have several projects going on at once, so people split up into groups for projects that they are interested in helping out with,” she said. 

Some of the recent group projects include finding diverse books, creating a library display, planning a panel for Women’s History Month, and preparing for the Sutton Connections Conference, where students will present at a workshop. 

“It’s a lot of multitasking going on in a wonderful way,” said Leong.

The HRC doubles as a space for administration, such as deans, to visit to give and receive feedback about incidents that affect the entire school, such as offensive graffiti. 

In response to anti-Muslim graffiti found in the bathroom last year, the council met with Newton’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Kathy Lopes. Members of the HRC offered feedback about the incident and ways to support students.

Last year, the HRC planned the No Place for Hate Rally that took place in June. It also started a college admissions equity project, supported the Sexual Assault Awareness walkout, supported the GSA walkout, presented at various conferences, and created anti-bias lessons. 

Leong added that the values behind the projects come from students’ passions in the HRC. “A lot of this is student-driven,” she said.