Students and teachers take on social issues

Ashna Sharma

Staff Writer

    People have visions and morals that are deeply rooted in their identities, but it takes courage to advocate for them effectively. Thankfully, teachers and students at American are unafraid to take a stand for their beliefs.

    “I strongly believe in the right of every living being to live and flourish as nature intended, therefore I support causes that make this possible,” Mr. Navarrete, a Spanish teacher, said.

    Mr. Navarrete champions LGBTQ+, immigration, and environmental rights. Although people associate the word “activism” with weekend protests and rallies, changes can come in lifestyles themselves.

    “Five years ago I decided to switch to a vegetarian diet after learning of the environmental impacts [of the meat industry] like deforestation, methane gas emissions, overfishing,” Mr. Navarrete continued.

    Mr. Navarrete has also participated in protests and rallies, which are effective ways of creating change. He finds them to be a very rewarding experience.

    “During the summer of 2012 I rallied in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Downtown Los Angeles. We were asking then-President Obama to provide relief to the millions of young people, like myself at the time, who didn’t have access to financial aid or career options after college,” he said. “That very same day, President Obama announced that his administration would start the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, from which hundreds of thousands of young people in the U.S. have benefitted.”

    Students are also outspoken about their beliefs and stand up against injustice. Rucha Joshi (12), who identifies as a feminist and wants to be a lawyer, reflects on what feminism means to her.

    “[People] believe that it means that females should be superior to men, but it is not. Females and males should be equal.” Joshi further described her beliefs: “Many people talk about how men’s lives can be ruined after these allegations [like Kavanaugh]. Christine Ford risked her career just to speak up. These women shouldn’t be targeted for speaking up.”

    Students also actively follow protests in front of the San Francisco City Hall, such as the Women’s March and the National High School Walkout Day on gun violence.

    “My grandma and my aunt went last year to the Women’s march, right after Trump was elected. My grandma took me to the second one in San Francisco,” said Jazmin Sharma (10). “In a women’s march, there are really universal topics, mainly about feminism. There are a lot of guest speakers, speaking about trans people, LGBTQ+ communities, homeless communities, anything really… One thing going around in the marches was that trans people should have proper access to medical care.”

    Mr. Howard became the organizing chairman of Fremont Unified District Teachers Association (FUDTA) this year, and he actively advocates for the cost-of-living with campaigns to educate the public. He opened up with why he is so passionate about the organization.

    “I see colleagues who work only a couple of days before birth, they live four hours away, they can’t afford child care, or they can’t afford cost-of-living, so they leave public education all together,” he said. “I have the luxury of living close to work and I don’t have kids, so I want to give back.”

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