No Place For Hate Week by Keira T. & Thalia C.
Meant to prevent bullying, discrimination, bias, and most importantly, hate, No Place for
Hate (NPFH) is a well-known organization at JW, but have you ever really taken a moment to really try and learn about it? NPFH is primarily a student-led program that helps students to confront hate and bias. The week of November 8th through 12th was NPFH week at Julius West. It was well thought out by the JW staff and administration and was very thoroughly explained to students so that they’d understand the importance of fighting hate.
During NPFH week, students talked about hate and discrimination-related topics and how to prevent them. Discussions relating to NPFH were held during JAG time in the mornings. Students first were introduced to the idea of addressing problems of hate when they occur. They also discussed the importance of individuality. One of the main points of NPFH is that “You Are Enough Already.” It is important to celebrate what makes us unique.
One fun activity that every class participated in was the identity doors. Mr. Edwards, a member of the NPFH committee, disclosed that “this past year's favorite [part of the week] was seeing the completed doors.” Each first period class decorated their door to represent their identity as a class and show how everyone is special as an individual. Another discussion that took place is talking about how everyone is like light bulbs. On the outside, every single person has a different appearance, but on the inside, we all shine equally.
Another class activity that was practiced several times throughout the week was community circles. Each student in the class gathered around and took turns sharing something about that day’s topic. When asked about this, Mr. Edwards responded with “[We] can’t pretend hateful acts don't happen in JW as kids grow up, but we can be proactive by talking about it and being there to help educate when these incidents of hate happen.” Community circle discussions were mainly about stopping hate at JW and not being a bystander. Students pondered about the diversity of Julius West, how to make the school a positive environment, how to be an active ally, and specific things that Julius West can do to support students who are targets of hate.
“[We] can’t pretend hateful acts don't happen in JW as kids grow up, but we can be proactive by talking about it and being there to help educate when these incidents of hate happen.” -Mr. Edwards
Yellow is a color that represents warmth, love, and happiness, which is why it is one of the No Place for Hate colors. Because of this, the week was wrapped up on Friday by encouraging students to wear something yellow to show support for NPFH. It was a great turnout, with over half of students and nearly all of the staff participating. This really brought the school community together and was a great way of bringing awareness to NPFH.
All in all, No Place For Hate week was an incredible success and taught students how to prevent hate and encourage kindness. Mr. Edwards is very happy with the results of it as well, stating that NPFH week overall “has a positive effect on the school and it shows students what we stand for and how we can be better.” Although the one thing he would change is that we’d have “more time. [I’d want] R&R schedule all week so there was time for community circles and stuff.”
In the end, students learned that the best way to stop hate is to talk about it, get involved, spread the word of NPFH, and “speak out against prejudice and discrimination,” as stated in the No Place For Hate pledge. But what can you do about it? Don’t be a bystander when you see a troubling situation. Talk to teachers or adults who can teach you more about how to be an active ally. Research about it and become a member of the No Place For Hate community!