HMHS Hosts Equity Summit


Courtesy of Mrs. McHale

Helene Usher, Editor

Last year, HMHS hosted its first annual Equity Summit virtually and it was a huge success! This year we were lucky enough to continue this tradition in-person. On Friday, April 8, student leaders from HMHS gathered with fellow students and staff along with students from Haddon Township, Haddon Heights, Collingswood, Cherry Hill West, Cherry Hill East, and Pennsauken in our school library. The day began with welcome speeches from Mrs. McHale, Mr. Tarrant, and Ms. Lesse. Shortly after, we split into groups of about ten to twelve students, each with two student leaders and one Haddonfield staff member. For the next three hours, the groups worked through an icebreaker and three activity sessions, all of which sparked in-depth discussions about cultivating acceptance in our communities and coming to terms with our own identities. My group honed in on gender identity, sexual orientation, and combating the harmful beliefs that have been ingrained into us in particular. At first, we were a bit uncomfortable talking because we barely knew each other, but eventually people were really opening up to and being vulnerable with each other, which I thought was so cool to witness. Once we finished the activities, all of the groups reunited and ate lunch together, reflecting on the day thus far. Then, we sat down for the final session of the day, a presentation from Mr. Robt Seda Schreiber, the Chief Activist of the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice. Mr. Schreiber started off with two personal stories about what inspired him to start his advocacy, and then proceeded to share several snippets from guest speakers on the Bayard Rustin Center’s Daily Social Justice Power Hour, including author of How to Be an Anti-Racist Ibram X. Kendi, Black Trans Lives Matter activist Raquel Willis, and many more. These stories were emotionally touching and inspired us all to leave the summit with a newfound sense of advocacy and respect for others. I could not be more grateful to have had this experience- it gave me so much perspective and I look forward to attending again next year!

Thank you to Ms. Lesse, Mr. Tarrant, Mrs. McHale, and all the student and faculty facilitators who made this event possible!