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Ninth Graders Create English Arts Projects on Injustice
Thursday, April 23, 2020 10:00 AM

In ninth grade English here at FAIR, students are reading The Hate U Give, a book in which the main character Starr experiences deep injustice — and uses her voice to speak out.

As part of this unit, students in Ms. Painting’s class explored injustices present in their own lives. Like Starr, they used their voices to call out wrongdoing. Tasked with creating an advocacy project on any issue of injustice they care about, scholars crafted artwork and wrote accompanying artist’s statements.

We got permission from a couple students to share the projects they worked so hard on!

Jarrah McDonald tackled climate change:

A sketch of climate activist Greta Thunberg atop a colorful background of green, orange, yellow, pink, and blue. Next to Thunberg's face are the Swedish words for 'School strike for climate,' and a quote in English, 'This is not a one time thing, this is our entire future.'

Olive Norvell wrote about health care:

A pencil sketch of an outstretched arm holding puppet strings; hanging from the strings is a person being manipulated. In a semicircle surrounding this display, onlookers gaze, gasp, and point

Here is Olive’s artist’s statement:

Look outside, what do you see? Read the news, what’s the headline? Maybe you’ll hear about the president or the reaction to Covid-19. Chances are you’ve heard the hospitals are filling up, when you look at grocery stores or out in public, there’s visible panic. People wearing masks, gloves, even going the extra mile to wear protective clothes to avoid catching Covid-19. There are multiple fears when it comes to this pandemic, the obvious being death but what about the fear of adding to the hospital bills you’ve accumulated in the chance you do get sick? What if you don’t have insurance and you can’t be treated? What if you live in fear because of your immigration status and catching this disease or most others could turn your world upside down. Now, more than ever, do we need access to affordable healthcare. This issue, while not as demanding as others, could easily save millions of lives.

While the entire world suffers from this pandemic, hospital bills are only going up. The pharmaceutical industry is mercilessly profiting off of our pain. Families are going bankrupt trying to pay off crippling medical debt, all while big pharma is only getting bigger. This is the essence of capitalism, profit at the expense of lives. This is injustice, allowing private companies to further their interests with the only goal being financial gain. 137 million Americans are struggling to pay off medical debt, 44 million Americans don’t have health insurance and another 38 million Americans have inadequate health insurance. Having access to affordable if not free healthcare should be a human right. In America we have been conditioned to believe that we are lucky to have the insurance we have and while that may be true, we need to remember that most industrialized countries of the world consider healthcare a right to the people. Why is this? Stated above, “profit at the expense of lives”. This is a dog eat dog world, and we’re all at the bottom of the bowl, waiting to be picked apart by American corporations looking to make a quick buck.

There is no probable way for immediate change, but there’s still a lot we can all do. Advocating for affordable healthcare, whether that be online or in public. Adding on to that, know your stuff! Research to know what you’re fighting for, all it takes is a few short sentences and you have a lot of information in front of you, use that to your advantage. Patients and consumers need more information, prices for procedures change depending on location, most patients don’t know about the local price changes. Power, consumers and patients need more power, a lot of patients feel powerless to this system, this needs to change. The lack of competition in hospital systems has a large part to do with how high hospital prices are. If hospitals have “no local competition...prices are 12.5% higher”. Knowing this, let’s create some competition. Instead of going to your usual hospital, switch it up, this could benefit you and many others in the future. Why should people care? Chances are you or a loved one will get sick in this lifetime or another, now maybe you’re fortunate, maybe you have enough money. Not everyone does, not everyone can afford the expenses of hospital bills. This is why healthcare costs need to be lowered, not everyone can afford insurance, not everyone can afford the penalties of not having insurance. Healthcare should be a human right, why are we allowing money hungry corporations to control our right as people. I’ve given you the resources, it’s up to you to make a change.