Group of interest: Social Justice Club

Meghan Pottle | Staff Writer

IMG_5177

From left to right: seniors Danielle Somershoe, Ashley Kramer, Hannah Mommsen. Photo by Meghan Pottle.

The Social Justice club is a group of a students that meet every first and third Tuesday of the month to openly discuss social justice issues, such as stereotypes and things that may be uncomfortable to talk about.

Senior Hannah Mommsen is one of the four students that helped form the Social Justice Club and said the club had its first meeting on February 2 and plans to host its second meeting on February 16.

“Right now, we’ve just done an introduction meeting, but we’re trying to educate and spread awareness for things that are social justice type issues, like microaggressions, implicit biases, stereotypes, things that we all face and are kind of uncomfortable to talk about,” Mommsen said. “We’re creating a space where we want to become comfortable talking about that and then bring it into the halls where it’s uncomfortable, so we can bring that conversation to others.”

Teacher Academy teacher Marcie Blamer is the supervisor of the Social Justice Club and said that the group is learning how to have these uncomfortable conversations with other people outside of the classroom in a respectful way.

“The idea is to get the issues out that the kids want to talk about, like for our first meeting, we just listed different issues that kids want to talk more about or know more about, so we can create this collective space where we can do that without worrying about offending or getting in trouble,” Blamer said. “Even in our first meeting, people were asking questions that they’ve wanted to ask, but didn’t know who to ask or how to ask, so the group was able to address that. Ideally, that happens every week.”

Mommsen said she and the other students involved started the Social Justice Club after hearing a different perspective on everyday social issues.

“We were inspired when we went to this conference that Teacher Academy helped us with,” Mommsen said. “We learned a lot about white privilege and a lot of us were very shocked as to what we didn’t know, which we feel that if we didn’t know it, then probably a lot of others in Mason didn’t know things that we were unaware of too. We felt that this was something Mason could really be helped by, like we could help some people, we could bring awareness, we could help educate them, we could help diminish a lot of bullying in this school and things like that.”

Blamer said her hope is that the students involved in the club become more educated on social justice issues and are urged to bring the conversation to the community.

“I want them to go out and be themselves and encourage other people to do that in a way that respects who other people are,” Blamer said. “We aren’t trying to change people’s mind to see things the way we do, that’s not the point at all, it’s really about how do we all be ourselves, respectfully, and function in the same spaces in a way that honors culture and values and difference.”

mpottle.chronicle@gmail.com