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After ADL: What Comes Next?

Kids from your classes. Your close friends. Trickling up to the microphone, more and more people, until the facilitators had to stop the trickle in the interest of time.
Freshmen through seniors shared the pride they have felt - and the hurt - with regards to their many identities in the areas of race, ethnicity, ideology, gender, and sexuality (and more).
 
To clue in faculty, staff members, J-Schoolers, parents, and friends who were not in attendance: on November 13, the Anti-Defamation League held a program about uprooting bias and prejudice in a community, which concluded with an open mic session in which high-school students were encouraged to come up to one of three microphones at the front of Assembly to speak about their experiences facing bias, prejudice, and discrimination in the Hopkins community.

It moved, and even surprised, some students, faculty, and staff that there was so much hurt. As we continue to remember, and grow from, this assembly, it is not the time to blame others or our- selves. Though it’s important
to reflect and feel every emotion that should be felt, one month later it is time to ask the all important question:
What comes next?

Something must come next. It begins with you. The next step is for each and every member of this community to remember the voices, and not just muse about them at lunch, but to translate what- ever you’re feeling - empathy, sympathy, hurt, confusion - into concrete actions. Are you inspired or wishing you knew how to help? Listen to those around you. Call people out when 
their words are hurtful - it’s terrifying but necessary. Go up to those you heard at the Open Mic, and ask how you can help.

Are you feeling confused? Talk to an adult, or to students, you trust. There are many clubs and organizations on campus that you can talk to. The main takeaway: the littlest actions matter. They really do. Every one of us - whether a new student or a sevvie or a decades-old teacher - has the power, each and every day, to contribute positively with a little action.

We all have competing causes for our time outside of school: activities, school work, family, that make us “busy,” maybe stressed. But each of us are on campus each day for at least seven hours. For each of those 420 minutes, for every one of the 25,200 seconds, you have a chance to make a difference.

Sure, for at least 220 of those minutes each day, you may be in the classroom. But kindness doesn’t stop when A block starts.

Instead of rushing out of class the minute the bell rings, take a second to talk to a peer you’ve never really spoken to before.

Sit next to the kid who sits in the back of the class and have a conversation.

Pass a note asking if she’s okay to a friend looking down, and when she inevitably answers a short
“good” or “fine,” press on, asking if she wants to talk.

That ninth grader whom you spent a minute with to talk about their day (and not just a quick “How are you?”) will remember that you cared.

The reverse is true too: that tenth grader who was the object of your joke, his face burning red with shame, will also remember.

We students have a lot that we will say when given the opportunity. Before that Monday, most of 
the community knew nothing of most of the incidents that were brought to light. And the thoughts, the feelings, and yes, the hurt, of our peers will remain silenced until YOU ask them.

Ask your friend/ classmate/advisee/teacher/ colleague: What are you thinking about? Invite them to share a thought they may have thought you were not interested in hearing. Only when we are in tune with all the thoughts of our community can we work to make it stronger.

Even if no one directly asks you, to share your thoughts, here is a prompt: What are you thinking? And really, how are you feeling?

Write a letter to us (send it to razor@hopkins.edu or 986 Forest Road), and we will respond. We’ll even send you snail mail right back. We really, really care about what you think and what you feel. Share your voice; share your story. It is unique. There is someone here who wants to 
listen to you.

We’re determined 
and enthusiastic students, but we are also teenagers finding our place in a world with competing messages about the many identities we hold. The more we students, faculty, and staff all engage with our whole beings, and not just the artifices that we put up when we interact with others, the more full and empathetic our community will be.

A supporting and uplifting community does not come naturally. It is only when each and every member consciously and deliberately tries their hardest to make every other person’s day a little better - through the little actions that mean oh so much - that a community is maintained. Do your part. Make us proud. 
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Editor in Chief 
Theodore Tellides

Managing Editor 
Katie Broun

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JR Stauff
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
The Razor,
 an open forum publication, is published monthly during the school year by students of: 
Hopkins School
986 Forest Road
New Haven, CT 06515

Phone: 203.397.1001 x271
Email: jnicolelli@hopkins.edu