LSE student speaks out about equity, urges those who are struggling to seek support

Maya Lange, Staff Writer

Many Lincoln Southeast (LSE) students, and people all over the world, have struggled with inequity due to the color of their skin, their culture, and other uncontrollable factors. The inequity that many people face is often not talked about, and little is done to change the way that many are treated. However, LSE students have started getting together once a week in an effort to support one another and work on educating students and staff about what equity is and how they can help. This group is known as the Equity Cadre.

“Our main goal right now is just teaching and educating everyone at school about equity and what they can do to be an ally for minorities,” LSE senior and Equity Cadre member Jocelyn Garcia said. 

Garcia knows what it’s like to not be included in things at school, and is hopeful that the Equity Cadre will be able to help make an environment where everyone will be able to have a voice and feel like they matter. 

“I think that everyone should feel included and like they have a voice in whatever they do,” she said.

Garcia defines equity as giving people who haven’t had the same opportunities or advantages as everyone else, a fair chance just like anyone else.

She has witnessed firsthand what it’s like to feel as though you’re an outcast and that your opinion and success doesn’t matter as much as other people’s. 

“Leading up to high school, I’ve mainly been at all white schools, so I’ve usually just been the only person of color that’s in my classes, and sometimes I feel not included or comfortable because of the fact that some of my peers will never understand what I have to go through as a person of color,” Garcia said.

Many of Garcia’s teachers in the past haven’t been the best at ensuring she was comfortable and  being sensitive to the disadvantages that she faces on a day to day basis. However, at LSE, she says her teachers are doing the best they can to be supportive. 

“Here at LSE, my teachers have been a lot more inclusive and have aimed at giving me a voice. They really try to educate their students about the disadvantages that people of color automatically have just because of the color of their skin,” Garcia said.

Although she has noticed a big difference between other schools she’s attended and LSE, Garcia recognizes that many LSE students are still among those who are struggling. She hopes that students will speak up and reach out to trusted adults when they feel they’re experiencing inequity.

“I know for a fact that you can talk to any teacher that you’re comfortable with and just talk to them about how you’re feeling,” Garcia said. “It’s hard to speak up when you feel as though you’re not being included and that there isn’t really equity in the classroom, but the best thing you can do is speak up.”

Garcia would like to encourage students who are experiencing inequity to not only reach out to a teacher, but to also join the Equity Cadre and always have conversations with people about what it’s like to feel like you’re being treated unfairly because of something you can’t control.

“It takes courage to speak up,” Garcia said.