Equity Club Begins, with Plans to Make Change

Students Supporting Equal Rights (SSER) is a new, equity-driven club started this fall. Led by juniors Debjani Maitra and Maddy Tepper, and senior Amal Hasan (a member of DOI), the club has two main goals: to educate the LHS student body on equity issues and to implement equity-related changes.
“[We] want to educate the LHS student body on political and human rights issues, and help [them] with identifying and enforcing those changes within our own community,” explained Maitra. Without wanting to step on or repeat messages from other clubs like the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) or Advocats, the club hopes to put out reliable information for students by creating infographics to display around school and send out in emails, as well as start more conversations about issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement and gender inequalities.
“Our biggest tool is going to be social media,” said Tepper. “[We] think it will be the easiest and most effective way to reach students.”
Instagram is their main source of outreach (@lvillesser), and the club hopes to post information they intend on gathering from surveys sent out to students. Such surveys will ask students to share personal experiences with inequality and about information they want to learn more on.
With a majority of the group’s current members being upperclassmen and female, the club hopes to eventually gain more underclassmen, as well as students of other genders.
“I hope [students] know that SSER is open for anyone, regardless of political beliefs or gender,” Tepper explained. “Education isn’t limited to any specific group of people.”
The founders understand the lack of racial and ethnic diversity at LHS, which is precisely why they believe this club is so necessary.
“Often with the lack of diversity in our school, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to problems that don’t impact you,” Maitra explained. “Something as simple as reading an infographic can help bring awareness to equality issues.”
Topics covered by the group will vary. Earlier this year, club members voted on which issue they would like to work on and overwhelmingly, it was decided that the Black Lives Matter movement was the first unit everyone wanted to cover.
“Since BLM is such a relevant and intricate topic, we decided to spend a majority of this first semester to cover it,” Tepper explained.
Units will operate in two or three different phases. They begin with lots of discussion among the group. Executive board members gather reliable information to present to the group on a slideshow over Zoom so that everyone understands the topic. Following deep discussion is the spreading of information gathered by members of the club to students.
Chloe Cashman, a junior, is a member of the club’s executive board. Cashman described herself as someone who is “very passionate about promoting equality in [our] community.”
“My main job [on exec board] is to gather information and present it at our weekly meetings,” she explained. “This usually includes compiling research and current events that relate to [our] discussion that day.”
Cashman also wanted to make clear that students know that SSER “is not based on one political ideal but rather is meant to discuss and improve upon problems of equity and human rights.”
Education is their top priority. And students who aren’t sure what to think or believe are welcome too.
“We aren’t here to judge,” Tepper explained. “It’s hard to know what to believe with the confusing context being released by the media sometimes. We are here to help educate and guide people to reliable information.”
The club is welcoming to anyone who is willing to learn and listen, regardless of political opinion. “We do not need to agree politically in order to agree that everyone deserves equal and basic human rights,” Cashman explained.
The club’s faculty sponsors are English teacher Ryan Ebling and social studies teacher Jorge Tamayo.