Westborough High School community walks to erase hate

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By Delaney Vallee and Maggie Hanlon

From left to right, Matty Burger, Hunter Bramley, Tommy McGinn hold signs during yesterday’s Unity Walk at Westborough High School. (Photo/Shawn Levine)

WESTBOROUGH – Westborough High School faculty, staff and students participated in a school-wide Unity Walk on Monday afternoon, working to celebrate diversity at the school and to stand up against racism.

This followed several incidents of racist graffiti in WHS.

Despite the cold temperatures, students and staff walked outside of the school to show their solidarity as a community.

Many held signs that expressed their support for all students as well as the need to erase racism in the community.

One of the teachers who planned the event was ELL teacher Alkeia Conerly.

“This event is so important because it brings not only everyone together, but it brings all cultures together,” she said. “It’s a celebration of diversity and it’s so important because, here at Westborough, we are very diverse.”

At the end of the walk, the community gathered in front of Westborough High School for an “Erase Hate” chant and for a reading of Amanda Gorman’s poem “The Hill We Climb.”

Gorman wrote and recited that program at President Joe Biden’s inauguration last year.

WHS faculty and staff took turns reading in different languages including Portuguese, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Arabic, and English.

Senior Autumn Lieber was one of the individuals who helped recite Gorman’s poem.

“Reading a part of the poem was a great experience for me,” she said. “…I felt like this poem really hit home for many people.”

“Hearing others read, like me, added more meaning and emotions to it,” she continued. “I also felt like the walk was a good way for more people to connect and really get together, showing respect for one another…”

There have been a number of racist acts also committed in other schools in Massachusetts during this current school year.

Back in Westborough, though, there will be an open meeting and discussion among faculty and staff on the afternoon of Jan. 12 to continue this work on diversity and anti-racism.

“I think it’s really important for us to stand up together as a school to fight against racism and other issues,” sophomore Nithika Krishna said.

“[The unity walk] not only makes our school better, it makes each one of us, I believe, better,” Principal Brian Callaghan added.

This article was published in collaboration with Westborough High School’s student newspaper, the Lobby Observer.