Teaching Content and Character: Social Justice Week at NHS

"When you talk about social justice, I think the focus is on character, what type of people are we creating, how can we be more understanding, more empathetic, walk in someone else's shoes, and I definitely think you can have classes that teach both content and character”-Anne Marie Osheyack

From Monday March 28th, to Friday April 1st Northampton High School played host to their second annual Social Justice Week. Groups such as the Gay Straight Alliance, the Students of Color Alliance, the Environmental Club, and the International Women's Right's Club came together to create an educational experience that could highlight each of their respective issues. On Friday, leaders from the Pioneer Valley such as, Loretta Ross long time organizer and activist, held a panel discussion on intersectionality, being co-conspirators and building resilient grassroots movements.

One week devoted to social justice education seems like a huge triumph in the eyes of many. When I spoke with teachers, Anne Marie Osheyack and Gino Román, I came to realize that a Social Justice Week could morph into Social Justice Year, or even Social Justice Life if students and teachers so choose. This lead me to question, what is the importance of incorporating a social justice lens into a curriculum? How can teachers do so? And, why could it change the lives of high school students for years to follow?

Creating an educational community where instructors can teach content and character would without a doubt benefit the masses, but for now a week is socially justifiable.