Juniors Ruby McCarter and Freya Lefler hung a poster in a Boise High School hallway Wednesday morning.
“The president stole your land,” the poster read.
Hanging the message was part of an all-day student-led summit aimed at helping Boise High students explore the promise of social justice in America, and to what extent students live up to that promise. McCarter and Lefler focused on recent land cuts made by President Trump.
“President Donald Trump’s actions are affecting students,” McCarter said. “This is a call to action.”
The summit included interactive, student-led presentations and a keynote address from Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, who spoke about justice affecting positive change in local communities.
“Everyone is responsible that justice is reality for every single human being,” Buckner-Webb said. “We must work together so everyone has the same basic rights for social justice.”
Students gave 80 presentations on several topics, from the struggles of undocumented Americans to the importance of intersectional feminism and women’s equality.
The level of participation impressed some teachers.
“These students are passionate,” Boise High teacher Amber Tetrick said.
Junior Sofia Fregoso presented to a group of 50 students and also focused on recent public land cuts. She noted Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, recently reduced from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres.
“This is so sad,” Sofia said. “As students, we need to know what the government is doing.”
Student organizer Caitlyn Clark hopes students leave school on Wednesday informed about democracy and inspired to change the community.
“I want students to know they have a platform to get their voice out and can start a movement if they want,” Clark said.
Nearly 50 students organized the summit. Students, staff and district employees participated.
This is the fifth summit Boise High students have hosted. The first summit in 2015 explored food in the fall and wellness in the spring. In 2016, The Sustainability Summit looked at how students can be sustainable in a variety of ways. In 2017, students pledged to make change in the community at the Be The Change Summit.