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Extending Community During Social Distancing: Remote Experiential Learning in Spanish

By Mr. Charlie Sellers, Spanish Faculty; Lindsay Davis, V Form; Tate Frederick, V Form; and Sydni Williams, IV Form

Extending Community During Social Distancing: Remote Experiential Learning in Spanish

Spanish is not for the classroom, and it is my hope that, after this year, all of my students will feel empowered to use their Spanish beyond St. Mark’s. 

– Mr. Charlie Sellers

During the final three weeks of Remote Learning, Spanish 4 students worked on a multi-step project called Estrechando Lazos/Making Connections. I asked students to pick a topic that in some way related to one of the units that we studied during remote learning: COVID-19 in the Spanish-Speaking World; Immigration: Assimilation and Alienation; and The Food Supply: the Migrant Farmworker in the United States. Students were asked to research the topic and find two to three relevant sources. Then, they tried to make contact with at least one person who is knowledgeable in the topic area. Students composed emails in Spanish to set up interviews using Zoom. 

Experiential Learning is a large part of what we do at St. Mark’s, and what I have learned from participating in experiential programs at our school influenced how I set up the project. I relied substantially on what I learned from last year’s Fifth Form Lion Term Leaders, Colleen Worrell and Kim Berndt: Design Thinking; making contacts outside of the school; giving students choice in choosing topics; guiding them along the way; and helping them present their most salient takeaways in a final demonstration of learning. In the final week of school, students presented a culminating project of their choice that showed what they had learned. The students’ work exceeded my expectations. 

The projects were diverse and relevant to the students’ interests. Fifth Former Sydney Williams interviewed both a family friend who is an immigration attorney and WBUR immigration reporter Shannon Dooling about the Dreamers and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. For her final product, she created a collage about the Dreamers and DACA. She wrote facts that she had learned from her interviews and research in images that she cut out of monarch butterflies and two stop signs. A symbol of the Dreamers, monarch butterflies pass freely over the US/Mexico border. She also included a dream catcher behind an image of the Statue of Liberty, and she superimposed these images on top of a background of the Dream Act.

Final Project by Sydni Williams, featuring information from her interviews.
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Knock Knock, Is Anyone Even Listening? Says the Feminist

By Allison Bechard, IV Form

Knock Knock, Is Anyone Even Listening? Says the Feminist

Summary: 
Sexism, despite constantly being viewed as a thing of the past, remains a predominant issue, especially in the workplace. Undeniable strides towards equality have been taken, yet females are still oppressed, being granted fewer promotions and less money than their male counterparts.

Key Points:
1. Males and females tend to receive different and unequal treatment when it comes to applying for jobs. Even though women often meet the same criteria as males and have superior test scores, men still get employed over them.
2. Men often receive more money from the moment they start their careers, leaving women to only earn $0.79 for every $1.00 a male makes.
3. Women are judged by different standards due to common misconceptions and stereotypes placed upon them by the dominant group. Women often find themselves without a sponsor to champion their work causing their careers to stall.
4. Men are reluctant to sponsor these females as they are afraid of losing power, despite this superiority being historical. 
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Colorblindness To Gender Inequality in the SM Community

By Ryley Holmes, V Form, and Hannah Macleod, IV Form

Colorblindness To Gender Inequality in the SM Community

Summary: 
Despite gains made after the passing of Title IX in 1972, gender inequality still exists in school athletic programs. A close look at St. Mark’s athletics program helps suggest the ideas of gender equity in sports. 

Key Points:Due to Title IX, Women are unable to be excluded from participating in sports in educational institutions that are federally funded. However, we are socialized and have conformed to the norms that women do not participate in certain sports at St. Mark’s. Sports donors at St. Mark’s are required to donate to both the boys and girls varsity programs for a specific sport, as opposed to a particular gender in that sport to ensure equitable funding. However, those sports that only have one varsity team receive all of the funds for only one program. Men typically specialize in one sport whereas women tend to be members of multiple sports teams. This specialization is geared towards men, for their future income is reliant on playing a professional sport. This specialization is reinforced throughout all of American society. 
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Examining Classism on College Campuses through a Critical Social Justice Lens

By Lina Zhang, V Form

Examining Classism on College Campuses through a Critical Social Justice Lens

This September, New Mexico planned to pass a law that would offer free tuition for its public four-year colleges for all residents of the state. While legislation like this and policies such as affirmative action are increasing education accessibility, the article in The Atlantic questions whether institutions are truly addressing the lives of low-income students after they enter competitive colleges. Through exploring several aspects of campus life, the article exposes the institutional inequalities that low-income students face on campus because of their class status and positionality. When elite colleges fail to provide for the dignified wellbeing of low-income students, they reinforce classism, a complicated and historical system of oppression that manifests itself as internalized sentiments of dominance and oppression and intersects with multiple aspects of racism, doubly disadvantaging low-income students of color.

         To begin understanding classism, we must first view classism not only in terms of individuals and anecdotal evidence but through overarching patterns throughout society. In its explanation of oppression, the textbook Is Everyone Really Equal highlights the “pervasive, historical, and political relationships of unequal power among social groups” (Sensoy and DiAngelo 65) that cause the “-isms.” In a capitalistic society like the United States, wealth has always been the clearest determinant of power. As politicians, legislators, CEOs, and—in this case—board members of colleges usually come from the upper class, this contributes to an inclination towards the benefit of the upper class and the institutional oppression of members of the working and lower classes. This perpetuates a social stratification or social hierarchy, wherein different amounts of resources are allocated to different social groups based on a good/bad binary constructed by the dominant group, or the upper class. The article examines several correlations between income and admittance and found that students from the top 1% were 77 times more likely to be admitted to an Ivy League compared to students from low-income families. It also found that, despite policies such as affirmative action, low-income students still overwhelmingly choose to pursue their education at less-selective institutions and colleges even though these institutions offer lower-quality education. As these students will then not be able to progress to a higher social class, the cyclical system contributes to the solidification of social hierarchies and the system of classism.

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Sexism in the Workplace Through a Critical Social Justice Lens

By Anu Akibu, V Form

Sexism in the Workplace Through a Critical Social Justice Lens

Writer’s Note:

This was an essay I wrote for the class Social Justice. We were tasked to “write an analytical essay that evaluates [a] resource through a critical social justice lens, applying the terms, ideas, and concepts we studied in this module.” The article analyzed in this essay is Boston Has Eliminated Sexism in the Workplace. Right?, so the issues presented focus on American society. I am still learning about critical social justice and challenging the way I view the world around me.


The Boston Magazine article explores the gender-wage gap in prestigious jobs at presumably equitable areas of the United States such as Boston. Highlighted within the article are the narratives of various women’s experiences with discrimination and microaggressions in their workplace. Although the companies have taken action against sexism in the workplace, there are still numerous ways for society’s cultural and ideological nature to align with its progressive efforts. (more…)

Serving Up Equality: The Quest in Women’s Tennis

By Tate Frederick, IV Form

Serving Up Equality: The Quest in Women’s Tennis

With the rampant gender inequality in professional sports, tennis could easily be considered one of the least sexist due to its recently equalized prize money. In fact, the World Economic Forum recently wrote that “the Women’s Tennis Association [is] pushing the women’s game and pioneering gender equality” (Edmond). Contrary to public perception, the professional tennis circuit still has to make significant improvements in order to achieve gender equality. The financial distribution still heavily favors men, some of the rules perpetuate sexist values, and unfair stereotyping of female players is frequent.

Despite the fact that prize money became equal in 2007, women still make far less than male players.  On the Forbes’ list of top-earning athletes, Serena Williams only comes in 51st, behind five male players, even though she has won more grand slam titles than any player, regardless of gender, in history, and holds endorsements with companies such as Nike, Gatorade, and JPMorganChase (Wang).  Williams has earned tens of millions of dollars less than Novak Djokovic even though she has won many more titles than he has (Macur), due to the overall amount of prize money.  If Williams, arguably one of the greatest athletes of all time, can’t achieve equal pay in comparison to her less-winning counterparts, where is the hope for women in less acclaimed positions?  By maintaining this inequality, the tennis circuit is discouraging and discrediting the achievements of women in the sport. (more…)