By Lucy Kim
“I am empowered by women in male majority classes; I am empowered by my mom; I am empowered by female rappers, my girlfriend, male allies; I am empowered by myself,” Newton South students proclaimed this past Monday, November 14 in honor of the school wide Empowerment Day.
Fem Club Presidents seniors Yuval Dinoor and Jessie Shiner and Vice President junior Juliet Cable organized and encouraged all South students to wear purple and put on “I’m empowered by” stickers to show support for the day’s celebrations.
From the left to right: senior Jessie Shiner, junior, and senior Yuval Dinoor.
Shiner explains how the club previously discussed the possibilities of different events as ways to empower the school, but finally decided on the one that took place on Monday.
“We were trying to think of an event that would help lift spirits after some recent disempowering events at South and also with some people upset by the election,” Shiner said. “We figured empowering everybody and unifying everybody was the best way to do it.”
In addition to students wearing purple, Empowerment Day included a gathering in the cafeteria during J Block that encouraged everyone, regardless of their gender, to speak about their past experiences and what currently empowers them.
Students come together during J block to discuss personal stories.
For example, senior Anna Neumann shared that she remains empowered by speaking to other people with very different opinions and being able to have a respectful conversation.
“After the L bench [issue] and the election, seeing people engaging in thoughtful discussions with people who don’t think like them empowers me,” Neumann said.
Adding on, senior Tema Siegel expressed her thanks to the faculty for taking action, reaching out to students, and their overall compassionate response.
In addition to the faculty, junior Sheetal Krovi shared that “women, in general, empower me. I am empowered by people who want to empower each other.”
For senior Jenny Pushner this day has not only positively impacted the Newton South community, but also her own personal outlook.
“It left me inspired to be an activist both in the south community and in the world over the next four years,” Pushner said.
Seniors Jenny Pushner, Sally Nelson, and Dalia Paris-Saper
Dinoor also shared her experience in the morning of that day and how she was empowered by Principal Stembridge as he showed much respect to the club in the face of adversity.
“This morning, Jessie, Juliet, and I put up a ‘we will not be silenced’ poster on the L bench, but three times, it was ripped and put into the trash can.” Dinoor said.
As they spoke with Stembridge, though he did not agree with everything that was said, he still listened to everything they had to say and in Dinoor’s opinion respectfully tried to come to a conclusion.
Others have also said that they remain empowered by their Race, Class, and Gender class because these students know that others do want to better the society through friends, family, male allies, and unity.
Shiner concludes that the Fem Club hopes they created a safe place that allowed students to be honest and radiate positive energy.
“I hope that students took away the idea that in the face of hardship or in division, the way to unify is to find self empowerment or something that makes you personally happy,” said Shiner.