A Positive Place: The importance of local, meaningful work in a heavy political climate

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Sid Sharma

Zach Miller, Emmie Peters and Aayusha Adhikari during a virtual meeting for A Positive Place Club.

Sid Sharma, Feature Editor

The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 instigated a conversation about systemic racism and dividedness in the United States. It also prompted faculty and students of PVHS to join and listen to each other in the midst of a heavy political climate.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement began with a central goal to achieve racial equality in the United States, specifically within the justice system and the workplace. The summer protests after the death of George Floyd were met with both empathy and animosity due to the divided political climate.

PV teacher Sara Russell, along with other teachers, believe that students from all backgrounds should have a voice in the fight for reform. “We want to focus on what issues students would like to address and help students bring meaningful change to the school around the areas of diversity, inclusiveness, and equity,” she said.

A Positive Place is a committee created by PVHS teachers with the intent of providing students the opportunity to share their perspectives in a respectful environment. The committee exemplifies the necessity of local, meaningful work in a complex and vast nation. Students and teachers meet through Google Meets every couple of weeks to discuss issues that are of importance to them.

Junior Lila Teitle attends these meetings to tell her story. “Our conversations are centered around things like racism and xenophobia in everyday life, safety in school, how to improve our community, how to educate others respectfully, and various other topics,” she explained.

Not only does the committee discuss heavy topics but it also embraces disagreement to ensure that students can share their beliefs free of enmity. They have outlined methods to have respectful conversations with those of an opposing viewpoint. They have also taken initiative in spreading awareness by reaching out to Spartan Assembly — PV’s student council.

Spartan Assembly created a committee that aligns with A Positive Place to inform and educate school representatives on policing in the United States. Students of this committee interviewed Deputy Fah to consider a different perspective on law enforcement and informed their council on the material they gathered on this topic.

Members of A Positive Place’s future plans involve expanding their work by reaching out to more of the student body in an effort for inclusiveness and diversity.

“I hope that eventually we can put together some sort of initiative to educate our community and extend our discussion forum to anyone who wants to join,” Teitle said. “It’s very important to create a space where people are not only respectful of one another but are also able to learn and formulate new opinions based on what they hear.”

The group currently plans on touring the school and examining areas of improvement regarding positivity. They will also outline action steps for members to take in their mission for inclusiveness at PVHS.