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Administration Cancels Awareness Week

Ruchita Verma, Student
Antisemitism Awareness Week posters and a box of hamantaschen cookies.

Antisemitism is the negative perception of Jewish people. Antisemitism Awareness Week was an opportunity for students to speak about the violence and discrimination Jewish people experience. The week was dedicated to spreading awareness about antisemitism to create an inclusive environment. Senior Ruchita Verma and over forty students put together activities because they want to bring attention to the various acts of violence Jewish people face and the concerns over antisemitisim at Mt. Eden. Before the administration canceled Antisemitism Awareness Week, it was scheduled for March 20 to March 24.

To bring awareness to the school, students made posters on Jewish heroes and traditions, prepared speeches that advocate and stand up for Jewish people, constructed a pledge to show solidarity for standing against antisemitism, planned rallies, invited speakers from the Jewish Holocaust Center, and organized with outside organizations for workshops and classes. Students formed committees and worked during lunch and after school. Antisemitism Awareness Week was an all-inclusive event that provided opportunities for students and staff to be allies.

On March 17, a meeting was held by Dr. Walton that included students and staff participating in Antisemitism Awareness Week and also opponents of the events. Dr. Walton expressed that she felt students were harming people by distributing false information because students were unfamiliar with true Jewish traditions. The administration felt that the awareness week would create division and convey the message that those organizing the awareness week disregard how other people feel. Dr. Walton voiced that it was too risky to continue with Antisemitism Awareness Week and canceled the event. Some staff agreed with Dr. Walton’s actions as they also felt Antisemitism Awareness Week was much more important than students were making it seem.

Other staff wished to continue Antisemitism Awareness Week because they felt the student leaders were thoughtful and committed to raising awareness and that all. students must be properly informed on discrimination and why it is dangerous. Student leaders expressed that they had made adjustments to be inclusive.

Ruchita Verma commented, “Instead of being celebrated for our advocacy, we were silenced by administration. We were treated unfairly.We feel hurt when we are told that we are causing harm by standing against antisemitism.”

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Sofia Cordoba, Co-Editor, Formatting Editor
Hi! My name is Sofia Cordoba and I am a Co-Editor and Formatting Editor of The Monarch Times for the 2023-24 school year. I have been with The Monarch Times for 2 years now, learning all about the ethics of journalism with my class. I was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and now I reside in Hayward, California. I enjoy playing with my doggy Zeus, baking chocolate chip cookies, and sleeping. I hope you enjoy the articles I have written and more to come!  
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