Times are changing, and Reagan’s extracurricular options are keeping up with the pace. The Empowerment Club is a new organization promoting discussion of human rights issues in a safe, respectful environment. It’s an inspiring idea with a lot of potential.
“I’ve always felt very strongly about issues in society, whether it be racial stigmas, social inequalities, the pay gap,” Tayia Oddonetto, club president and cofounder, said. “I’ve seen, especially at school, a lot of people are not that educated on these specific subjects, or it’s so taboo to talk about it, I just wanted to create a safe environment where we could talk about it freely and perform activist activities outside of school.”
The club’s main goal is to bring awareness and help to those who need it.
“We really want to dismantle objectification and misrepresentation and all that stuff,” Lydia Nye, club webmaster, said. “I know that these things don’t just go away, but I think that if you get people talking about it and educating people that it is a problem and not just saying that ignorance is bliss, because it’s not, you can solve a problem.”
Members share the desire to lift people up.
“One of the things I really liked about it was that they wanted everybody to feel like they were important, and I’m all for that, I love that,” Goodyear who is this? said. “I just thought it’d be a good opportunity.”
Goodyear isn’t the only new member in the club, though.
“I was extremely surprised that as many people showed up as they did, because first of all, it’s such a taboo subject. In our society, we don’t like to talk about it, it’s kept hush hush, we don’t talk about racism, or sexism, we don’t talk about other people’s struggles. We live in our bubble and our routines, and we don’t think outside of ourselves,” Oddonetto said. “I’ve just noticed that by starting the club a lot of people really do care and want to talk about these subjects, and it’s awesome.”
The club’s leaders are passionate about achieving their goals.
“We want to lift people up through knowledge about these issues, and if someone’s having a hard time because of these issues, we want to lift them up and bring justice to the situation, as best as we can,” Nye said. “One of our main goals is to empower.”
Lydia Nye especially wants to empower through education and communication.
“You see and you hear a lot about, especially in America but all over the world, all these injustices that are happening, and I want to hear it from another person’s perspective, and how their experience can be different than mine and what I can learn from them and how I can help them, and how we can learn from each other, really. It’s a really educational experience,” she said.
Specifically, the club focuses on feminism and racial equality.
“Personally, if I think back to being younger in elementary school and being told, ‘no you can’t wear that, you’re a girl, you’re supposed to wear a dress today, today is dress up day, you can’t dress up as a super hero, you’re supposed to be a princess,’ and all the stereotypes that I have personally had to deal with, they have formed my opinion that girls can do anything that boys can do and boys can do anything girls can do, it goes both ways,” Oddonetto said. “It’s not just the women that are being persecuted in a way, it’s also men in our society, it’s just very messed up.”
The club anticipates helping the Battered Women’s Shelter as part of their community outreach.
“We’re doing a service project during the holidays to sort of gather up whether it be toys, books, whatever, like nail polish for the women. I emailed the woman and there are 80 children from infancy to 17 years old,” Oddonetto said. “The women were saying that they were really surprised that we thought of them, because not a lot of people think of domestic violence. I just think that it’s really nice to raise awareness for that.”
The officers encourage anyone interested to join.
“Everyone is welcome to join or come check it out, and everyone’s opinion is welcome, as long as you’re respectful about it,” Nye said. “You don’t have to come in with an open mind, but come in, be respectful, and be ready to talk about things. Nothing really has to be sugarcoated in the club.”