The Student Union takes action in the community

One of the signs painted by the union members at the vigil for victims for police brutality

Moira Doolittle, Staff Reporter

A new, student-led group was formed over the summer before the 2020-2021 school year. The South Hadley High School Student Union is an organization founded by Sophia Kennedy, junior, and focuses on social justice and equality issues in the community. It consists of students from all grades, as well as a student board and an advisor—Ms. Pronovost, the school librarian—that work together to run and manage the group. 

Kennedy, when asked why she started the union, Kennedy said that she saw a problem and wanted change: “I realized that ignorance is being constantly ignored regarding equality issues within our school system, and I decided that had to change.”

Sarah Hall, junior at SHHS and advocate of environmental and social issues, said she readily agreed when Kennedy asked her if she wanted to join in the early days of the group. “I think it’s very important because from what we’ve seen at our school and from other schools it is not reliable to put that responsibility on the administration to address.”

Nikki Hollis, senior and board member of the student union, was also one of the first members of the union. “I joined the student union because I wanted an outlet, and I wanted change in our community that was obviously needed. We want to make a safer environment.”

The union has already done a lot of work in the few months it has been active, Hollis states. “We’ve done phone banks, we’ve held a vigil, we’ve changed things within the curriculum to make it more diverse. We’ve held letter-writing campaigns, and we post a lot of important information for students on our Instagram.”

Kennedy has had this idea for a long time, and truly believes it’s vital to the community. “Our education system hasn’t given us the education we need on racism and homophobia and sexism and everything, so I think starting a club that focuses on those issues is really, really important.”

“If you are thinking about joining, do it,” Hollis said. “You can learn something, and even if you don’t like it, that’s fine. It’s a really safe and comfortable part of the community where you can express yourself and make sure the things that you’re passionate about are getting done.”

The group held a vigil in late August, with recorded speeches, presented art by members of the community, and a moment of silence with flashlights in place of candles to adhere to social distancing measures.