“Young people, when informed and empowered, when they realize that what they do truly makes a difference, can indeed change the world.” – Jane Goodall
With leadership from both current and recent Bexley High School graduates, the Bexley community joined together on Saturday, June 6 to march to the Ohio Statehouse, in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The march, which was organized with help from alumnae from the Class of 2017 – Halley Dunn, Rose Hoffman, Julia Cohn and Grace Malley – and led by Austin Smith ‘20 and Kaia Woodford ‘19 – was the beginning of a broader effort by the newly formed Bexley Anti-Racism Project, a youth-run organization with a mission to actively combat racial inequality through education, mobilization and amplification to support people of color in the Bexley community and nationwide. Smith, Woodford and Max Dresbach ’20, will serve as the Executive Committee to co-lead the organization moving forward.
As an advisor to the newly formed group, BHS high school social studies teacher, Anna Schottenstein ‘07, noted that these young alumni, who will all be attending Ohio State this fall, have plans to mentor current high school students as a way to advance the organization’s mission. Currently, students of color make up 19% of the student population in Bexley City Schools.
With momentum from the march, the group is looking to address issues where racial tensions exist locally – in school, with police and around the community. The group plans to coordinate community-wide events that educate and influence change in Bexley. Following the march, the group participated in a peaceful community reflection on equality, racism and justice hosted by the Bexley Minority Parent Alliance (BMPA) on Sunday, June 7 in the Jeffrey Park Meadow. Student speakers joined with Bexley Board of Education member, Alissha Mitchell, and BMPA leader, Brian Drewry in discussing ways the Bexley community can move forward and grow.
The group also hosted a self-care event on June 14th to address activist burnout, to reflect on all it has accomplished and to recharge as they look to amplify the nationwide conversation about race through education, reflection and listening. To learn more about these efforts, follow the Bexley Anti-Racism Project on Facebook and Instagram @bexleyarp or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.