The district’s activism needs more action


Wild Salubre

Justin Le, Staff Writer

From inattentively posting social causes without context to supporting organizations with misleading messages, AUHSD’s performative activism fails to uplift its students and educate on important matters. The district needs to step out of its comfort zone to support these various causes — researching activism well to teach it more effectively and create it inclusively.

During different months (Women’s History, AAPI, Black History, etc.), AUHSD posts daily on their Instagram highlighting an influential figure who has progressed social justice causes. Followed by a student quote in the post and caption, the posts continue until the month ends. While this can be an earnest attempt at representation, the impact comes off as performative — the posts lack substance and context, skipping over the history and struggles of the person. The district should clarify its intentions and spread awareness on the importance of these months. They can achieve this by sending out resources, organizing events, and advocating for charities promoted by these influential figures.

Furthermore, AUHSD’s activism fails to support autistic students through poor research and understanding. Linking Autism Speaks on their Special Needs Body page, they advocate for an organization that frames autistic people as part of an epidemic or genes to be eliminated, reinforcing stigmatization. The organization creates an unsafe environment for autistic students instead of treating them with the compassion or humanity they deserve. Autism Speaks has also never publicly apologized for creating a video that depicts autism as a threat and calling it worse than cancer or aids in a horror-film style. More research must be conducted before promoting random organizations that fail to support the right causes. Beyond this, the district can promote resources on their Instagram page to further their outreach and expand their audience.

While AUHSD does not have an obligation to be an activist, it should adhere to its vision of “creat[ing] a better world through unlimited you.” Recognition posts seem to build activism, yet nothing is ever done to promote student involvement and actively destructure oppressive systems. While bringing awareness to topics is a good start, the district ultimately has the power to go beyond and influence more action. Thorough research and informed context will communicate their ideas better and allow students to be unlimited versions of themselves.

While the district is well-intentioned, their execution must be improved. By directly educating on various oppressive systems in society year-round — similar to ethnic studies courses — they can support their student body the way they want to more effectively. Meaningful action is not always easy, and the district openly and clearly standing in solidarity with diverse communities is the first step in clarifying its message. Only then can AUHSD truly support its students and teach them how to make a positive difference in the world.