Central student activists make change on campus, in community

Brielle Young, Co-Editor In Chief

This past year, youth have been at the forefront of many social and political movements. On campus and off, Central students have been making their voices heard and supporting causes they feel passionate about.

Within PBC, the Environmental Honor Society works to clean up the school, educates students about environmental issues, and helps ensure that community environmental needs are being met and maintained. 

The Environmental Honor Society promotes and encourages students to be more environmentally friendly. They reach out to students involved in the organization to assist them in informing others about the importance of a clean environment. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Environmental Honor Society is limited to holding only at-home and virtual events with members. However, this does not stop them from continuing to serve PBC and the community. 

“In previous years, we were responsible for going to each classroom and collecting plastic recycling,” shared senior and Environmental Honor Society president Paola Soto-Perez. “We also have a garden where we planted different vegetables and other plants.” 

Additionally, members have attended various beach clean-ups and environmental preserves, had community nights cleaning up trails at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge on Public Lands Day, and volunteered at the Wellington Garden Club to plant trees at the Wellington Environmental preserve. 

The Environmental Honor Society not only focuses on in-school education about the environment, but they inform the general public outside of school as well. 

“In the past, we hosted a booth at the Wellington Amphitheatre on Earth Day,” said senior and Environmental Honor Society treasurer Gracie Baker. “This informed the public of why it is important to preserve our environment and ways people can protect it.” 

Even with the challenges brought about by COVID-19, the Environmental Honor Society members continue to spread their activism virtually. 

Currently, opportunities such as creating digital flyers to post on social media to spread awareness about environmental issues, watching online webinars provided by the EPA, signing environmental petitions, and preparing to participate in the Envirothon competition are being conducted this year. 

The important efforts of the Environmental Honor Society have not gone unnoticed, either. 

“The most rewarding part of being an Environmental Honor Society member would have to be receiving recognition from FAU as a ‘Green School,’ as well as seeing the vegetables and other plants grow in our garden,” emphasized Soto-Perez. 

Without a doubt, the Environmental Honor Society works tirelessly to continue to educate students and the general public about the environment. 

“My favorite aspects of Environmental Society have been being able to create so much change on our campus and to find so many people that are passionate about the environment like I am,” explained Baker. 

Palm Beach Central is no stranger to activism and many students are heavily involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Last summer, the unjust murder of George Floyd sparked an international uproar. Between political turmoil and calls for justice ringing out in the streets, it is evident that the Black Lives Matter movement has truly proven to be a force to be reckoned with this past year.

Without a doubt, young Black Lives Matter activists, inspired by the acts of bravery of other racial and social justice activists have made strong goals to make an impact within their school, community, and Congress. 

Three student activists, in particular, share a common sentiment: Standing up and speaking out is better than saying nothing at all. 

“I got involved with BLM because I don’t want to see any more people die who do not deserve it,” explained sophomore Toni Jones. 

The power of social media influence is an incredible tool to reach others to inspire them as well. 

“I got involved because of seeing everything on social media,” said sophomore S’Nia Tribble. “Also, some of my family live in the areas where everything was prevalent at the time. If my family were to get involved and I did nothing, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.” 

Additionally, research on past incidents as well as the history of the Black Lives Matter movement is an important step to these activists becoming involved with the organization. 

“I first got involved with BLM last year during the first protest in June; after extensive research on the topic, I was able to come to the conclusion that people are often unfairly targeted by the justice system,” elaborated sophomore Lydiah Guillaume. 

As part of their activism, Tribble, Jones, and Guillaume have utilized several online platforms to support Black Lives Matter and educate others on the topic. For instance, through social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, these students have been able to share petitions, statistics, factual and relevant information, as well as personal experiences to show what the BLM movement means to them. 

Additionally, some students have participated in Blackout days online, as well as attended smaller-scale local protests in front of The Mall at Wellington Green. 

“As a Black person, hearing that this is happening to people resembling my skin color is disheartening,” said Guilliame. “Hearing of not only the deaths, but the injustices due to systemic racism is saddening.” 

Tribble shares the same sentiment. 

“I come from a Black and interracial background,” Tribble said. “I didn’t help my own race, it wouldn’t be fair that I get to live a good life while others like me are suffering on their own.” 

Through their collective advocacy and support of the Black Lives Matter movement, important and game-changing steps have been made in terms of race relations in the United States.

For example, a notable achievement would be the BLM movement gaining more traction, awareness, and supporters. Furthermore, there have been multiple laws passed, like Breonna’s Law, as well as further talks in government about how to handle racial injustice in America effectively and appropriately. 

“I’m proud that mostly the protests have been peaceful on our side since it is a scary time and fear can make people violent sometimes,” explained Tribble. 

However, other activists can appreciate the steps that are being taken after BLM awareness but recognize that there is still work to be done. 

“We did not get to see the killers of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd’s murders in jail or at least get punished in the slightest,” noted Jones. “They got free.” 

Overall, the Black Lives Matter movement has taken the world by storm, and each activist agrees that the BLM Movement thrives on self-awareness, acceptance, and a continuation in the rising trend of youth activism will surely solidify the credibility and continuous achievements of the massive movement for this generation, and future generations.