Voices of Equity inspires change around diversity, inclusion; Challenging normal thinking at North Harford


Kylie Redding

Members from the Voices of Equity freshman orientation table making a change with school spirit, decorations, and kindness.At the first meeting they discussed plans of providing information to faculty on the importance of proper pronoun usage.

Caroline Barquin, Reporter

 Voices of Equity takes problems seen on the North Harford Campus and makes a change through educating students, staff, and administrators on the importance of understanding common issues.

     Michael James, an English teacher at North Harford, is the leader for Voices of Equity. He explains the big picture purpose of the club as “creating a community where everyone gets what they need to succeed. It is not a political group. It’s about equity; that all voices need to be heard.” 

     Junior Ethan Jourdan adds “it’s a lot of people who collectively believe in social change and equality in general.”

    One of the most known movements right now is the Black Lives Matter movement. This has caused some brands to take immediate action on racial justice. Jourdan believes that “many places talk about change, but the main goal of voices of equity is to actually make that change through attacking the source directly.” 

     These brands’ well-intentioned efforts have been inconsistent and confusing to the customers according to a Voices of Equity website. The organization, while it has the same name it is not directly connected to the club although it does stand for similar things.     

   The club meets after school on Wednesday from 2:05 p.m. to 3 p.m., both virtual and in person. According to James, “We start the meeting with an introduction and follow those with any business plans, upcoming events and those types of things. Then we open the floor to concerns students might have or topics they want to discuss.”

    Jourdan explains, “we got an understanding of the problems we are facing at the first meeting and brainstormed how we are going to go about making change.”

    Voices of Equity uses multiple different approaches to making change at school and in the community. In the past, the club presented to all the administrators in the county about some issues in school that they might not be aware of, as well as the day of silence where participants remained silent the whole day to spread awareness about the effects of bullying and harassment of the LGBTQ+ community.

    One plan discussed this year is that the club is “going to try and talk with administration and the faculty about things like pronoun usage and issues that students in a minority face,” James says. A county-wide Voices of Equity group that the club is a part of is going to be at the upper Chesapeake pride festival.

    Jordan’s focus this year is to shed light on what he believes is the biggest problem the club is facing. “People’s understanding of difference is a huge problem. People fear what is not normal and they don’t accept what is not in their definition of normal.” 

    James and Jourdan urge people who are interested to come to a meeting. Jourdan wants to mention that “it’s the type of club where if you sign up and can only come to one meeting it’s totally fine. We’re very laid back in the commitment area and know other people have other commitments.”

     Every week, the club reminds James of how strong and powerful students are. He explains that, “the students are focused on wanting to make a change and wanting to make the world better. It gives me hope for the world.”