“Educate not hate”; Voices of Equity prepares to host county-wide conference

Matthew Ledford , Video Editor

Voices of Equity is a club that was first formed during the pandemic year of 2020. “The motto of VoE is ‘educate not hate,’ which falls into our goal of working towards giving every student at NHHS and HCPS an equitable opportunity for a fulfilling high school experience,” according to Mr. Michael James, who is one of the English teachers here at North Harford. 

      Anyone who wishes to join Voices of Equity can expect to find a welcoming group that wants to talk about the issues that concern them, but also a group that focuses on the action as well. “We always look to grow both in our numbers and in our activities. We work as a North Harford group, and we work as part of a network of VoE clubs in Harford County,” James comments.

      James and the club state, “Our next event is our April summit with the other HCPS VoE clubs. We are meeting at the Colored School Museum and Cultural Center in Havre de Grace. Although the theme is not finalized, it does look like it will be around the idea of ‘honoring our past, focusing on our future’ or something similar to that.”

     They will have a keynote speaker who will address the students. Students will then attend two sessions of their choosing. Some of the topics of the summit will include mental health issues, diversity in college, slam poetry, service to the community, meeting with different community groups, and several other options. The list is still being put together. There will also be time to meet with other middle school and high school clubs to plan out future events, James continues.

      James states “during our first year of Voices of Equity, students expressed a strong interest in meeting with students from around the county who were doing similar work. We reached out to Bel Air, Harford Tech, and Aberdeen to start our first HCPS Voices of Equity summits. From that first meeting, we have led a professional development experience for the central office staff and administrators for schools around the county. We have held several HCPS summits at different schools.”

      James finishes, “we have worked festivals and other events as a county group as well. Currently, VoE is in almost every high school in HCPS and in three or four middle schools as well. I think one of the things that the club gets from this is real-world practice in working together with people you might not normally do so.”