Speak Out!

Ernestasia Edwards

One time I spoke up against a problem I identified within the community I was in was when I was a camp counselor in a local neighborhood. The camp director, god rest his soul, allowed kids as young as 14 to be junior camp counselors that were supposed to be a type of assistance to the counselors who were older. However, there was a lot of slacking off for the older camp counselors resulting in the junior camp counselor being the ones to try to pick up the slack. This was quite chaotic and the amount of “almosts” that occurred would be devastating if parents found out. Many of the counselors were local residents in the neighborhood which I wasn’t, causing hesitation in my wanting to speak up about it. I talked to my grandmother about it and she told me I should write down my observations without criticism to keep my job. So I basically just offered a ton of solutions without really making the problem seem like I was trying to bring down the camp. It worked in my favor because they didn’t take it negatively and it brought in the proper change, as the older counselors were more active in the roles they were assigned and less almost dangerous situations were happening. My speech to the director was compelling because I kept complimenting the things that were going right in the camp and how easy of a fix the “simple” problems were. Allowing them to receive the message peacefully and allowing my recommendations fix what was stated.

Another time I spoke up against was the regulations that were set in place in my high school even with a building change. My school had changed buildings when I started my 10th grade year after being in that school/building since 6th grade. The building was being built right down the street from my house for about a year before I started to feel the impact and change the new school was going to bring to the culture of the community. The new building had caused many problems in the community as the lack of respect for the things in the community as kids didn’t like how the same rules from the old building were being applied in the new building despite the changes of the new building. Since everything was fairly new it was easier to speak of change when there was already legit change. I reached out to the NHS in my school to bring awareness to how the majority of the school had stirring emotions regarding the regulations. Them being students themselves already heard or felt the emotions themselves. I wrote a professional letter to give to the NHS so they can present it, yet after reading it the teacher incharge of the society told me I would have to speak this with my own voice. This gave me confidence that even a teacher was on my side and when I went to the director of my school with the letter. The leaders of the school weren’t as eager to want the changes implemented and it took much more time to convince them to make the changes. The whole school kind of came together as one voice because it was that important to us. My speech was compelling to the students because they wanted that exchange just as much as me, while it was harder to convince the directors because they didn’t want any change nor see the problems until we had to blatantly put up the cause and effects of these regulations.

A third instance where I spoke out against something is when my little sister was going through a bully problem and her school seem to just brush it off. They always sent her home with letters excaliming that kids will be kids and school is the time they will experience life lessons. This was outrageous because it just seemed like a stupid excuse to not being able to control the students who cause mayham. This wasnt technically my community and this can be the reason why I hadnt had much success with the ending outcome but thats besides the point. I had failure with this time when I tried to speak about the bullying my sister was facing. The school kept using excuses about me not being there day in and day out to be able to share how the problems can be fixed. This resulted in not much being about accomplisghed. However I did try and we were able to fix the bullying problem outside of the school, so an overall win win.

I think my trait of being too opinionated and my behavior of talking too much can get in the way of my advocating for others because I may mix my own opinion with their thinking or goal that can jeopardize the severity of their situation. I feel like a trait me and Ned share is his wanting to satisfy. In Ned’s effort to try to listen to Emma and face the criticism from Mickey and others it resonated with me that I find myself in similar situations. I like to satisfy everyone not having to pick sides just like Ned was kind of put in that similar bind. One thing I can improve on for these traits is just doing more listening over talking. I feel like If I talk less I won’t have enough time to share my opinions or at the very least not merge them with others. This will be beneficial for my leadership skills as well because it will just make me more inclusive and wholesome as a leader. Even as simple as to hear out the majority of people and just a dash of my way to help guide the situation, because it’s still teamwork at the end of it all.

I’ve advocated against police brutality and the equality of black men and women with the rest of the world. I’ve come to care about these issues as cases raised, got worse, and even connected closely with my family. My mom is always stressing the importance of our heritage and fighting for our people since as long as I can remember, making it a priority of mine.

A picture I took at the George Floyd protest in my hometown Boston,Ma

I feel overall satisfied with my advocacy because I do real life action and media action. Maybe one thing I can try to do to better advocate is find ultimatums instead of starting from scratch to plans that didn’t go as planned. Or even just taking those personal steps that I am looking forward to like hearing other peoples opinion in finding the common level for what were all fighting for. “I feel that I am supporting important causes with all of my talents and energy.” I feel this way because everything I have strong feelings about I put my undivided efforts for it once the problem arrives.



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