Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

‘Bigotry Can Be Unlearned’

By Jenifer Bonilla ’22

Equity and inclusion, at this moment in time, is a topic that I would say is difficult to shy away from since it has become something integral to many people worldwide. During this time, I’ve come to realize the power of social media, and the strength of learning from one another.

Social media reaches large portions of people worldwide, which allows many of us to spread the word about what’s going on in our country. Through one another’s posts, we learn about the struggles oppressed people face, and we are able to document injustices and become more visually aware. In the age of technology, there are so many resources available to us that it is very hard to stay ignorant regarding these topics. It takes sympathy and a desire to learn about the struggles Black and other marginalized people have faced, but also keeping in mind that any kind of bigotry can be unlearned.

I believe the movement that is occurring was inevitable and bound to happen. There is a “justice” system that fails to serve everyone equitably, systemic racism, and discrimination based on the pigmentation of another person’s skin. I blame our nation’s education system for its failure to give us a more enriched education about the realities of oppression that are left unheard, and other important aspects of our daily lives — like the historical context behind the n-word, for example.

The protests that are occurring around our country should not end up as a dying movement; this isn’t a trend or moment, these are people’s lives. It saddens me that it takes people viewing brutal, but honest, coverage of what occurs to Black people on a day-to-day basis to finally understand it. With this coverage though, we are now able to see the problem — eye to eye — that’s been in our country since the freeing of slaves. Recently, I was amazed to see peers of mine who are also passionate about this topic, and who are willing to put the time and effort (one student even created a spreadsheet with places to donate to and resources to learn from) for the greater good. Let’s keep using our voices at protests, on social media, and especially in our households. These difficult conversations are now present for us to engage in, even if it feels uncomfortable.

In the fall, conversations about politics and equity and inclusion will be on everyone’s radar, but it will take us understanding one another’s points of view, being vulnerable enough to engage in these conversations, and learning from one another to help us experience a fraction of what will be required of us as adults in the workforce. Let us remember there is still tremendous work needed to improve our system, and to proudly proclaim justice for all.