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Monroe County students learn about social injustice through speeches, projects


Children participate in a teamwork activity Jan. 20 at Lincoln Street Boys and Girls Club. The children were playing before writing letters to government officials and making posters over topics they had discussed. Alex Deryn

The Monroe County Youth Council sponsored its Martin Luther King Jr. Student Action Day Monday afternoon at the Lincoln Street Boys and Girls Club.

The event was meant to provide students with a greater understanding of social justice, especially injustices that are overshadowed, such as period poverty, which is a lack of access to menstrual products due to financial poverty and the stigma against periods. Three students gave speeches about a social injustice they think others should be educated about, such as period poverty, activism against environmental injustices and declining accessibility to music education in schools.

The Monroe County Youth Council is an organization that offers students leadership and volunteer opportunities and the chance to make a difference in the community. 

Lucy Schaich, director of the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network said the event was proposed by the children as a way to address social justice.

“They really wanted to explore some of the things that often are on the sidelines,” Schaich said.

Bloomington High School South junior Lena Lin said a lot of topics people don't normally associate with social justice have social injustices . She referenced the lack of access to music education in schools and period poverty as examples of topics people don't normally think about.

Students were sprawled out on the gym floor, writing letters to government officials. Others put together “period packages” of liners, pads and tampons for those in need.

Joslin Nguyen, a 17-year-old Bloomington High School North senior, sat on the floor writing a letter about period poverty to Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, who represents Bloomington’s district.

“I didn’t know that people could change the government’s mind,” Nguyen said. “If we weren’t here, I probably wouldn’t have been writing letters to representatives.”

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