The Power of words

Students talk about the power that hateful words have on others as part of a National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) advisory.

Brendan Johnson, Editor-in-Chief

The Power of Words from DeSmetPress on Vimeo.

The focus of the presentations given to students today was that words carry a lot of weight. They can be used to support. Likewise, they can also be used to divide and tear people down. The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) refers to those words as hate speech. The organization addressed the topic with students in order to promote acceptance in the community and build up some of the walls that had been torn down because of them.

“Once the awareness was raised in these presentations, you started to hear some really intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate things coming from our kids,” Diversity Director Amando Gilkes said. “That’s something that I think even the adults can take away from this.”

The presentations gave students the opportunity to reflect on their actions and think about the effect their words can have. During their presentations, they were asked what their strategy would be prevent hate speech moving forward.

“We need to realize that our words really have an impact on people,” senior Michael Tran said. “Often times we only think about ourselves and don’t think about other people. This was eye opening for a lot of people.”

Gilkes believes that the presentation was a success and effectively conveyed the message he was hoping to send to the students. He plans to keep the communication going in order to keep the message of acceptance alive in the halls of the school.

“The conversations that happened today were really powerful,” Gilkes said. “The challenge is to continue the conversations as we go about our daily lives.”