HRC hopes to spark change with bandage initiative


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Human Rights Club brings skin-color inclusive bandages to WPS schools, in hopes of creating long-lasting change.

Anushka Patil, Co-Editor-in-Chief

In an effort to bring DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) changes to Westford Public Schools (WPS), WA Human Rights Club (HRC) has begun the process of distributing skin-color inclusive bandages, made by Tru-Colour, to all elementary and middle schools in the district.

“All of the bandages are packaged and ready to be delivered. Our club members have signed up to drop them off at the respective schools, so the bandages will be there in a matter of days,” HRC senior president Manasvi Iyengar said.

The initiative took form during an idea brainstorm, where members of the club raised concern about the standard tan bandage provided by schools.

According to Iyengar, the majority of HRC members felt that the lack of variety in provided shades may cause students, those in younger grades especially, to feel excluded and undervalued.

“Our goal for supplying these band-aids is to break the Eurocentric custom that maybe not many of us have given much thought to. Although the color of band-aids may seem trivial to teenagers or even adults, they have the potential to make children feel represented and comfortable in such an easy way,” Iyengar said. 

At the recent Holiday Bazaar, HRC raised close to $330, with 90-95% of those funds being directed towards purchasing the bandages; the rest of the earnings have been allocated to other HRC projects.

Iyengar reflects on the process being a difficult one, as the club needed to go through different administrations within WPS to have the Tru-Colour bandages approved.

“It took a couple of meetings with WPS administration, since the bandages needed to adhere to latex-free requirements. Our club advisor Mrs. [Rebecca] Ingerslev helped out a lot in this process,” Iyengar said.

According to HRC advisor Rebecca Ingerslev, 1,260 bandages were bought, 180 for each of the six elementary schools and 90 for each of the two middle schools within WPS. Within the next couple of weeks, HRC members will distribute the packages of bandages to each school on their list.

In the long term, according to Iyengar, HRC hopes to see these implementations foster new conversations within the district. The club wants not only for administration to fund these bandages but also for more resources to be provided to students that fuel inclusivity.

“We are still planning to fundraise, but we want WPS to take over this initiative. Our goal is to shine a light on some of the smaller ways that WPS can make students’ experiences a little better in terms of DEI,” Iyengar said.

In agreement, superintendent Dr. Christopher Chew sees WPS prioritizing the ways students can forever have access to these bandages.

“Having skin-color inclusive bandages is a very clear commitment to acknowledging the wide range of skin colors that exist in WPS and providing that option would better communicate that acknowledgment to all students and staff,” Chew said.

As for the future of HRC and its initiatives, the club is planning a South Asian cultural night for the spring in connection with the organization Saheli, a nonprofit dedicated to helping South Asian women through domestic violence. While the bandage initiative ends soon, HRC plans to continue raising cultural and DEI awareness throughout our community.

“Our goal is to inspire conversations within the district. With the more initiatives and projects we have, the more opportunities that we have to create change, which is really what our club stands for at the end of the day,” Ingerslev said.