The Racial Justice Alliance: A Space to Embrace Race

The Racial Justice Alliance: A Space to Embrace Race

Karina Babcock and Amanda Ito

Inspired by brave individuals and organizations who relentlessly advocated for civil rights and equal treatment under the law in the wake of current events, seniors Rania Aly, Anijah Franklin, and Julianne Meneses founded the Racial Alliance Club (RJA) at Morris Knolls High School. The club meets once a week and is advised by Ms. Johnson and Ms. Schilens, who are history teachers at the school. There are currently 81 members in the club.

When introducing the new club to the school, its founders described it as a safe space to “educate and inform the students of Morris Knolls of existing racial problems and initiate a sense of inquiry, conversations, and responsibility.” When asked about what RJA means to her, junior Gabby Thomas responded with her appreciation of RJA’s inclusive attitude that embraces and celebrates all cultures, as well as giving students the opportunity to ask questions without fear of prejudice or judgment. She specified that “If allies in RJA see something happening in the school that’s racist or not appropriate with the school’s values, hopefully, they will speak up.” This perspective goes to show how the RJA is inspiring the youth of today to be upstanders and makes Gabby feel optimistic about the future and how the youth pay attention to the way the world works.

After attending discussions that shed light on important topics, members of RJA were left inspired to think globally and act locally. Since the club is student-run, it gives members a platform to converse, share their knowledge, and further connect with their peers. With each meeting, students are taught that their voices matter and are provided with the confidence and resources to fulfill their goal of educating and raising awareness about race relations. To do so, the RJA has established the following subcommittees: scheduling meetings with the administration, fundraising for nonprofit causes, reaching out to other clubs and organizations, hosting a panel, spreading awareness with a showcase, and developing a social media presence.

The Racial Justice Alliance is determined to support a generation of upstanders who strive to make the world a more inclusive place for a more accepting future. Above all, their message is clear: you have a voice, use it for good.