By: Megan Allen
The United States has experienced a lot of civil unrest this year. Many Americans feel that the way social issues are handled is unacceptable, and the events that have occurred in the past few months have inspired students and faculty alike to take action. From new clubs like Cultural Diversity Awareness Club and Generation Ratify to movements led by current students and alumni like Flow Forward, Ramapo has seen a large increase in student involvement in social justice initiatives.
Generation Ratify is a student and youth-led movement that focuses on the fight to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Their goal is to raise awareness, volunteer, and advocate towards the passing of the ERA and other feminist causes. Lia DiLisio (2022) and Arianna Gusella (2022) took the initiative to start a Ramapo chapter this year. When asked about her inspiration to take action, Lia says, “I am driven to take action within my community because I see no other option [as a result of my peer’s problematic behaviors] and even though I see no other option, I am genuinely happy to take part.” Generation Ratify had a “Get Out The Vote” phone bank on October 17th and plans to have many more volunteer events and discussion-based meetings coming in the future. You can learn more at @generationratifyramapo on Instagram.
Lia is also involved in tackling other social justice issues through clubs like the Cultural Diversity Awareness Club (CDA). CDA’s goal is to educate and open conversations about diversity and empathy within the community. The club is advised by Mrs. Perry, who, when asked about her inspiration to become an advisor of this club, says, “When I was approached […] to start the Cultural Diversity Awareness Club this summer, I felt strongly about supporting this group of students and cultivating a greater sense of cultural awareness, opening [discussion] on equity and finding opportunities for an increased sense of inclusion within our school community.” CDA just recently had two “dine and dash” fundraisers for Hispanic Heritage Month with 3 Chicas and Blue Moon. They also have a “Hate Has No Home Here” yard sign sale happening as of October 23rd, and more fundraisers planned for the future. You can find CDA on Instagram at @ramapocda.
Whilst not directly affiliated with Ramapo, a grassroots movement many Ramapo students are involved with is FLOW Forward. FLOW Forward’s primary goal is to bring awareness and systematic change to the FLOW education systems. They can be found on Instagram at @flow__forward, where they post “Stories of Inclusion” and shed light on how FLOW students of color feel.
Paired alongside pre-existing clubs like GSA that fight for equality for the LGBTQ+ community, Ramapo Relax that fights to end the stigma surrounding mental health, and SADD that encourages students to take action against teen violence, substance abuse, and more, it is apparent that Ramapo students are passionate about fighting for social justice causes and willing to have such important conversations at a young age.