Students work on PSA amidst racial issues

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Students work on PSA amidst racial issues

Ben Walker, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Recently, WA has seen an increase in racial tension, which prompted administration to meet with the Anti-Defamation League to help solve the problem. As a result, administration has began to come up with solutions to fix the issue among students.

One step that is being taken is a PSA that recently aired on the WABC morning announcements. The PSA was put together by seniors Medha Palnati and Prachi Jhawar, with the help of seniors Maryam Mullenix and Caroline Chaffiotte. It aired on Wednesday, February 14th.

The PSA contained many WA students who said what they stand up for at WA, along with a final quick message from Principal Jim Antonelli.

According to Palnati, the two, along with help from those in WA’s Human Rights Club, came up with the idea for a PSA at the beginning of the school year, when they became more aware of the issues at WA.

“[The PSA] doesn’t even really address racism necessarily, but encourages students to be more respectful to each other and more compassionate of one another and look at one another as people […],” Palnati said.

However, Palnati and Jhawar do not want students to believe that this PSA came from their club, but rather from other students around WA.

“There are a lot of people that feel the same way as us […], [they] just want to encourage a generally respectful place at Westford Academy,” Palnati said.

Although Palnati and Jhawar acknowledge that students may have different takeaways from the PSA, the two want students to do one thing:

“Start a conversation,” Jhawar said. ” […] We’re just trying to stress  that if you feel uncomfortable, if you don’t know what’s going on, just start a conversation with someone else.”

Jhawar also believes that the most important thing to do in order for people to understand each other is to talk to each other and communicate.

As for why to two continue for their political activism, Palnati and Jhawar both cited former WA history teacher Ron Koehler and current WA history teacher Donna Kavanagh as two  inspirations.

“They’ve contributed a lot to making things matter for me. Prior to that I understand [that] government matters […]. I didn’t realize how much it impacted me personally, and how much of an impact I could make on a community level. But going through their classes gave me a lot of insight as to like why history is important and how that applies to modern day […],” Palnati said.

As for Jhawar, she also credits her membership to WA’s NOW club (National Organization for Women) as well as her junior year government class for her continued activism.

Additionally, Jhawar and Palnati have attended political movements themselves, and they want these messages to reach students at WA.

“We thought that one way that everyone would see [our message], was to put it on the morning announcements, so everyone could understand what we were trying to say,” Jhawar said.

In the end, the two stress that if anything, they want WA students to ask questions about these topics and messages.

“If there is nothing else that you take away from the PSA, just take away the fact that if you don’t know something, always ask about it, whether that is ask a friend, ask a teacher […],” Jhawar said.

If you want to see the PSA again, click here.

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