A capstone experience for our eighth-grade students each year is conceiving, designing and carrying out social justice action projects. The students each choose a contemporary social justice issue in need of attention and work either alone or with peers in small groups to support their cause. They are asked to create campaigns with a specific purpose, clear messages, and a target audience, and they are encouraged to use a variety of outreach methods to raise awareness and to get involved in the greater community.
Below we share with you this year’s Action Projects. Several projects seek donations that can be brought to Sheridan and we have highlighted those opportunities below in BOLD. If you would like to support projects that do not have a collection spot at Sheridan, please email Eileen Hughes and she will put you in touch with the student(s) involved.
We love watching our students put their passions into action and hope you will consider lending your support to their efforts in any way you can.
PROJECTS COLLECTING ITEMS AT SHERIDAN:
Please place items in the designated boxes inside the playground doors:
Keevan, Pixie and Ruby:
- We chose to work on the extremely widespread problem of sex trafficking. We chose this issue because while it destroys millions of lives each day, most people don’t know about the issue.
- We are informing teachers in the school about this issue in a staff meeting, putting flyers around the neighborhood, going to Congress to deliver letters lobbying the issue, going downtown to pass out flyers, writing letters to Congresspeople, establishing a GoFundMe page, and doing a donation drive at Sheridan.
- We would like donations of shampoo/conditioner, soap, chapstick, clothing detergent, toothpaste/toothbrushes, deodorant, hair brushes, and hair ties. They will be donated to The University of Maryland Safe Center for Human Trafficking Survivors. Because human trafficking often leaves people without family, job training, or money, these supplies will help survivors get back on their feet.
James and Matthew:
- Our social justice issue is climate change/pollution. We chose to talk about climate change because we love animals and believe it’s sad that they are dying due to our waste.
- We have been messaging Congress members through Twitter, raised money through a GoFundMe page and have spread fliers out in public areas.
- We are collecting reusable tote bags to give away to people at local supermarkets.
Please contact Eileen Hughes if you are interested in supporting any of the projects below and she will connect you with the appropriate student(s).
Ava and Carys:
- We chose climate change because it is an extremely immediate issue everywhere in the world that affects everybody, especially the least privileged. The United States has already grown 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in the past century, and the coastal seas have risen 9 inches. Furthermore, the air quality is growing much worse, particularly in countries with a lot of factories like India and China.
- We are having a bake sale where we will hand out our pamphlets and display our art.
- I will be challenging police brutality. African Americans all around the country get harassed and assaulted by the police. I choose this because African American men and women are disproportionately victims of police brutality even when committing no crime. I am concerned about police brutality because I am concerned about the safety of me and my friends and family. Also, it is a human rights injustice that all people should know and care about.
- I am handing out pamphlets, making art and going to different walkouts and protests.
Caty, Gwyn and Olive:
- We are focusing on beauty norms and beauty confidence. We chose this topic because we want to focus on an issue that we see in our everyday lives and an issue that we experience personally.
- We made a video which we sent out in a petition on change.org. We also posted the video on Youtube. Then we wrote letters calling Tarte Cosmetics to change their patterns of perpetuating stereotypes about beauty and being racist. While we wanted to call for action, we also wanted to recognize good organizations. We sent a letter to Beauty Bakerie because it was the first company to have a foundation line where the #1 shade was the darkest shade.
Chloe and Gabriela:
- We have chosen to pursue the issue of LGBTQ+ rights that are not respected in certain countries because we are passionate about everyone having freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and others.
- We are going to raise awareness by using social media, flyers, as well as a GoFundMe page. We will try to raise money and give it to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Our goal for raising money in this project is $300. Currently, we have raised over $150. We are halfway through our goal, and to raise more awareness around DC, we will be handing out flyers with our info as well.
- I chose police brutality because it has shown up a lot in media over the course of two years.
- I will be trying to get signatures for my petition helping Campaign Zero and supporting their beliefs.
- I want to raise awareness for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and possibly have it taught at places like Sheridan. I chose it because I realized that too many people are uneducated or have a completely one-sided view of the conflict, and are not prepared to help solve it.
- I handed out pamphlets, presented the idea to our Middle School head, and made a video presenting the idea to students.
Hannah and Marta:
- We chose to work on banning conversion therapy for minors because we both want to bring awareness to the terrible truth about conversion therapy.
- We are making art and displaying it in public. We are also working with the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) and making a petition and GoFundMe page to raise money and awareness
Jackson and Julian:
- We are choosing food injustice and hunger, and we chose it because neither of us has experienced hunger or food injustice, but close friends and family have and we want to raise awareness to the cause and try to help out.
- We are making a short film encompassing different things we are doing to help such as talking to different organizations, making and donating sandwiches for Friendship Place, volunteering for serving meals, and potentially planning and leading an event for the Middle School.
- The social justice issue I chose is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in education (DEI). I chose this topic because I have had issues with DEI especially as a black student who attends a predominantly white private school.
- To address this issue I have a social media account on Instagram and Facebook to raise awareness on my topic. I am also holding a dinner where I will invite students of color to speak about their experiences with DEI in their schools. I am also working with Teaching For Change, a nonprofit organization that supplies teachers and their schools with positive educational materials that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Madi, Thomas and Tiimo:
- Our issue is pollution in our world and the constant use of single-use plastics and how it’s killing wildlife. We chose this issue because single-use plastics are polluting the ocean, killing wildlife, and causing climate change. We want to keep our earth clean of garbage such as plastic waste.
- We started by each writing a small essay about our opinions on single-use plastics and sent them to news outlets such as the Washington Post and the New York Times in hopes that we would be able to reach to readers of these newspapers to make change. Additionally, we are discussing ways to reduce plastic waste at Sheridan with alternative plans and plan to do a trash walk and hand out pamphlets to raise awareness about this growing issue.
- I chose human trafficking, which is the extreme exploitation of people for multiple purposes.
- I am collecting money to support the Polaris Project, which is an organization that helps survivors of human trafficking. I also am writing a letter to members of Congress. I made a pamphlet which I am going to distribute.