Take Action club and the Juneteenth rally

Written by: Zoe Weiner


Take Action Club along with the Journalism classes have been working to create our school’s Juneteenth rally. These students along with some teachers have worked for weeks to come up with great ideas for celebration despite obstacles they have faced, such as rejected ideas and very little time to create everything they needed to.

The rally on Friday also had people celebrating Juneteenth in other ways as well as just going to the rally. To celebrate Juneteenth, Take Action Club has decided to have people who signed up be able to wear a symbol. “We have these paper bracelets that have the name of an enslaved person and a bit of a background and were doing that because we want to symbolize at the rally when they are broken off to show how those enslaved people were free on that day.” Explains Take Action Club member, Violet Calabro.

Some of the challenges Take Action Club faced when planning for this celebration were having to come up with a new idea for how to celebrate Juneteenth because “the original idea was rejected by [district leadership] because they think that it was too controversial,” says Take Action Club member, Hermela Yemane. “The original idea was chains hooked from your wrists and once you get to the rally you break it off.” 

Violet Calabro continues an explanation of the rejection of Take Action Club’s original idea. “People were in chains for a long time and so that idea was brought up by Black students in Take Action Club and our superviors wanted to honor that and we were very clear with the principal on that and other staff members that it wasn’t going to be connected. But the district recommended that we don’t do that, and we could have done it but we didn’t want to get in trouble with the district or risk the jobs of our teachers or anything, so we had to decided to change the idea to just having bracelets, and our principal, Ms. Collins, was very clear that she didn’t want any chains or anything because that was what people were worried about.” They worried “that because of what the current climate is, that” the guy from the district “doesn’t want to deal with that. We were kind of disappointed about that.”

Adding on to the discussion is Abby Jordan, also a Take Action Club member, “The original idea was “chains” that were supposed to be a loop that hang off your wrists. It was put down, it was said no to, that we can’t do that because it would be like having chains on the human body. Which for us it was weird because it wasn’t like it was going to be connected; it was supposed to just hang off.” After they weren’t allowed to use chains, the TAC, “just decided to have cuffs with the information about a former enslaved person so that they could take it off and say ‘Now so-and-so is free’ Our backup plan for when they rejected our idea was to have the cuffs, and we were supposed to call them ‘Juneteenth Awareness Bracelets.’”

We reached out to Mrs. Collins for a response but she did not get back to us before this article had to be published.

Being a part of Take Action Club and making sure Juneteenth is celebrated well is really important to many of the people who helped organized the rally. “Juneteenth means to me a way to honor the enslaved people who were finally freed, I think that the rally would be a good way to do that,” says Hermela Yemane, and Violet Calabro agrees, adding that “Juneteenth to me is the celebration of the end of slavery and that on Juneteenth everyone in america was free from slavery and it’s important to learn about that.”

Ms. Haugen says, “On June 17th, students from the Take Action Club organized the first Juneteenth rally at CPM. For this event to happen, the students planned and organized the event over several weeks. They presented their ideas to our principal, vice-principal, and district leaders. I cannot say enough how proud I am of all their work. During both rallies, other students said they wanted to speak next year. This was a passion project and legacy that these students left for our campus.”

Both Take Action Club and Journalism students have been working really hard to make this rally and this celebration special, they have made videos and adervertized letting people know everything that they need to to be able to participate in the celebration. Along with organizing the actual rally and hand making the bracelets that people will wear. Everyone has been working to make sure that this holiday gets the celebration and honor that it deserves.