High school students advocating for social justice globally spent their lunch break Monday writing letters to governments in hopes of systemic change.
Students at Elgin Park Secondary gathered Nov. 28 to write impassioned letters to government officials, urging them to take action in helping those who have had their human rights violated.
Around 40 students participated in the event, originally a campaign by Amnesty International called Write for Rights that runs globally.
“Just doing this, coming from youth and teens from other countries is really impactful,” said Abigail Barron, a Grade 12 student at Elgin who participated in the campaign.
Barron chose to write her letter about a single mother who was imprisoned for attending a peaceful protest.
“I (have) a single mother and she works really, really hard and so I just feel really bad that she’s a mother and she’s away from her family and can’t provide for them.”
Students who were not able to make it for the lunch-time writing event can write their letters at home and bring them to school. Other students wrote letters during class.
“We can voice our opinions, we have the freedom to make a change but in many other countries, they don’t get this opportunity,” said Max Li, a Grade 10 student who participated in the event.
Another student, Paige Pearson, who is in Grade 11, wrote her letter advocating for justice for Zineb Redouane who was killed by tear gas fired by a police officer.
For Pearson, writing the letter helps her practise her ultimate goal of fighting for social justice in the future.
“I’m really into human rights, I want to become a human rights lawyer when I grow up,” she said.
Last year’s Write for Rights event was much smaller due to COVID restrictions, so students were excited to have the campaign play out on a larger scale for two days, ending Tuesday (Nov. 29).