Malden High’s Racial Equity Club

Malden High Students for Racial Equity logo. Submitted by Sammi Nie.

The MHS Students for Racial Equity Club (SFRE) was started by Billy Zeng, a senior at Malden High school, who wanted to start something at Malden High since the school is big on diversity and focusing on student voice and student representation. He wanted to be a voice in the community but just didn’t know how, and he wanted to start something and be a part of a club that addresses certain issues. The three lead organizers of the club are Sammi Nie, Sheilly Patel, Juliete Pierre.

They started in late August-early September, when it was originally called the MHS Curriculum Reform Youth Board. The club understands how upset and frustrated being a person of color can be, and they hope to work to be able to change the school. The club has talked about holding people accountable for their actions when saying racial slurs and changing the curriculum to not have it so Eurocentric.  

MHS SFRE is big on talking about the Eurocentric curriculum and changing it because there is so much more to discuss than just European based history. Zeng explained that it was something he “really wanted to push for  because [he] know[s] at [his] time at Malden being a freshman, sophomore, even junior years, [he] felt like [he] was learning the same Eurocentric narratives.” 

The club is trying its best to be recognized on social media to let people know about different topics. Their social media is a way to help people understand what they are doing by having posters up on Instagram to talk about different resources and try to educate people. 

Mostly led by students of MHS, the club deals with racial incidents, like racist and insensitive writings on the walls of the bathrooms, by bringing them up to the students and the administration. “As a Malden High alumni, [she] thinks that this club is so needed,” said Michelle Nie, a former student at Malden High, who is now attending Boston University and majoring in graphic design. 

Michelle Nie collaborates with the Racial Equity Club and helps them create designs on the topics that are being put on Instagram. “Nowadays that’s your reputation, it’s not about billboards and ads anymore, it’s about what you do on social media,” Nie stated. She creates visual guides on different topics addressing the issues at hand by educating people on what needs to be done and talked about more. 

The club’s first instinct was to change the curriculum, even though they knew that it would be tricky to do. They would have to get in touch with many different people like the Mayor, the governor, the Superintendent, and the Board of Education. 

“[They] didn’t want to focus only on the curriculum, more on accountability.” Sammi Nie said. The club is putting in the effort to try to be more serious regarding certain topics. They want to change how students will be punished when saying something racist, instead of having it swept under the rug, they want it to be acknowledged. 

The Racial Equity Club focuses on different topics and works to let people of color know that they have an ally when it comes to being racially profiled, such as in cases involving hate crimes on Asians due to false COVID-19 information and the police brutality that black people have to go through. 

When describing the group, Sammi Nie said “[She] thinks this is a very powerful group working towards powerful things.” The MHS SFRE Club is passionate and working toward their goal of acknowledging student voices. 

 

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly mentioned that Michelle Nie attends Boston College. It has since been fixed to say Boston University. 

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