Anti-Racism Task Force rallies to combat racism

December 8, 2022 — by William Norwood and Allison Tan
The Anti-Racism task force poses with speakers before the rally on Nov. 21.
The rally follows a high-profile incident in the quad.

Senior Taylor Wilson stood in the quad during tutorial on Nov. 21  and described his experiences with anti-Black hate and racism. 

Hundreds of students came out to support the anti-racism rally that Wilson and the rest of the school’s Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) had planned in response to a racist incident that occurred the week prior in which an African American doll was found hanging by a noose in the middle of the quad.  

“I’ve come to understand that a lot of people, maybe even you, don’t feel the racism here is significant enough and instead decide to sweep it under the rug,” Wilson told the listeners. “I’m tired of telling people they can’t use the n-word or other slurs, even though they already know. I’m tired of watching people pretend to laugh and sit by idly as someone says something blatantly racist but excuse it as a joke. Stop, and do better.”

In preparation for the event, ARTF pushed out a social media campaign on Instagram, encouraging all students to wear red to stand in solidarity against racism. Additionally, task force members stood outside the entrance of the quad the morning of the rally to tie red ribbons around people’s wrists, further signifying unity. 

Students gathered before and after the rally to sign a banner made by the task force labeled “SHS stands united against hate.” 

For the task force, the most rewarding thing was seeing all of the students, staff and council members come together to support combatting racism.

“I think it went well,” Wilson said. “I’ve noticed a different shift in the attitude towards racism more recently, but my only wish was that we could have gotten a school-wide assembly.”

Core task force member senior Arshi Chawla said she felt touched by the number of students resonating with the student speakers: Wilson, sophomore Aneri Shah and senior Shreya Rallabandi. 

“Just seeing everyone wearing red as well was really rewarding because that’s how I knew people really stood in solidarity,” Chawla said.

Moving forward, ARTF plans to further address the noose incident and racism at Redwood Middle, where Wilson determined preventive efforts should be further focused.

“We were thinking of planning a community-wide event to address the incident, which would be in partnership with Redwood Middle and Prospect High,” Chawla said. 

The task force is also discussing planning a march from Saratoga High to RMS or other community centers to further open the conversation surrounding racism. 

The team has developed a strong social media presence on Instagram, attracting new members to join. They plan to hang QR codes around the high school where the interest form can be found directly. 

While change for racism in the community is gradual and takes time, Chawla said there she has seen progress in campus culture and the way that students interact with racism. 

“I’ve been a part of the task force since my freshman year, so I definitely don’t think it’s a very obvious change, but there’s some curriculum that’s been affected — we helped to bring the ethnic studies course,” Chawla said. “These are little steps, but we definitely need to work further together.”

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