Being Visible: Three different students, three different viewpoints on the most prevalent social issues in our country today

Three different students, three different viewpoints on the most prevalent social issues in our country today

A march for visibility

Sophomore Gabi Ruderman has come from a long line of activists. “My grandmother,” she said, “always took her kids to rallies and marches when they were younger and felt that they were in this country that has this democracy and they should take advantage because here, they could freely express their voices through their freedom of speech and press and to gather publicly.”

On Jan. 21, Ruderman took a part in her first protest at the Women’s March.

Surrounded by streets full of people and signs held up high, Ruderman was one of over three million who marched worldwide. In downtown Indianapolis, she proudly held her sign saying, “Love is love and love trumps hate and we are stronger together.” For her, this march held the goal of being visible, of making sure her voice was still heard amongst the crowd.

This goal, Ruderman said, was accomplished just through the sheer number of people who attended.

“As a peaceful protest, it may not bring as much pressure upon the government, but the persistence of the protests can educate more people and hopefully, eventually lead to change.”

Leader for life

In seventh grade, senior Mary Carmen Zakrajsek had a life-changing experience. A women who came to speak to her youth group explained the process and psychological effects of abortion and the words hit Zakrajsek hard.

“It sparked a fire in my heart because I knew I would have to do something in my life for fighting for human rights,” Zakrajsek said. “I love being passionate, being an activist and this was just really on my heart to speak up for the most vulnerable.”

When Zakrajsek got to high school, she joined the Teens for Life Club and became president her junior year. She is been to a national training program on how to educate others about pro-life beliefs and has taught numerous pro-life classes to middle schoolers and other students. Zakrajsek just recently went to the March for Life in Washington D.C. on Jan. 28.

“That was really impactful,” Zakrajsek said. “It made me feel like I was doing something because I can talk about abortion in a classroom with a bunch of kids and I can talk about it at lunch (but) to actually go to our nation’s capital and actually fight for what I believe in in front of the courthouse, like that was really big.”

 Getting out of the bubble

Senior Odelia Satchivi has a unique perspective on racism and minority struggles. As a first-generation American in her Ivorian family, Satchivi sees the issue from the inside and the outside. Although she did not grow up in the African American culture, according to Satchivi, she feels the effects of racism and advocates for the Black Lives Matter movement.

“When you’re growing up as an African-American in America, no matter what, you kind of grow up with this message that you don’t matter—whether someone says that verbally to you or it’s just the way you’re treated or the way you feel,” Satchivi said. “You walk into a room and people look at you weird.”

Although Satchivi acknowledges the relatively un-oppressive atmosphere of Carmel, she had personal experiences that exposed underlying racism.

“I remember once in middle school, I got on the honor roll and someone was like, ‘you’re only on the honor roll because you’re black and that lets you have a lower GPA to get on it.’ Which wasn’t true because I worked hard to get on it,” Satchivi said.

Her experience with multiple cultures has shown her that the cause of racism has to do with lack of understanding.

“We all have to kind of get out of our bubble and understand that…we don’t just live in Carmel, Indiana, we live in the United States, we live in this world. The whole world isn’t just black and white. We need to learn other people’s cultures because I think the main problem with racism and ignorance is the fact that people don’t know other people’s cultures.”