Wilson joins No Place For Hate initiative

Madison Dias

Wilson is currently in the process of receiving their designation of becoming an official No Place for Hate School, joining a national program to encourage inclusivity and diversity. Wilson pledges to stand with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in eradicating hate speech within the school, the community, and the world.

According to the school website, this initiative is meant to help “support the Wilson vision to build an inclusive and welcoming school environment through anti-bias and bullying prevention measures.” English teacher and HomeBase organizer and advisor Marc Minsker notes, “Now more than ever, Wilson students need to stand together in solidarity against hate in our world, demonstrating that diversity is something to be valued and cherished.” 

No Place For Hate is a program run by the ADL aimed at improving the culture within school communities to promote a more accepting environment for students with different backgrounds and identities. This includes actively and proactively addressing bias and bullying that might occur among students, staff, and other community members. No Place For Hate provides schools with guidelines for how to start developing a school culture centered around acceptance and allyship. 

According to Junior Lordes Weston, Wilson decided to become a No Place for Hate School because, “[The Student Government (SGA)] noticed that some kids in the school weren’t getting treated the same as others and we wanted to change that and make sure everyone gets treated equally.” SGA began discussing this initiative last semester, as “conversations were held by faculty and staff members working on this year’s Comprehensive School Plan for Wilson, and among SGA and Peer Mediators facilitating HomeBase sessions,” Minsker said.

Minsker worked on the 2020-2021 Comprehensive School Plan committee in addition to working with student leaders in the Peer Mediators club. Minsker explains, “Through the initial efforts of Ms. Spicciani-Gerhardt, our HomeBase leaders (Ms. Zuravleff, Mr. Besser, and Ms. Doughtery) have all been instrumental in coordinating Wilson’s involvement with the ADL and No Place for Hate, recruiting Wilson students and participating in ADL training.” 

Weston was “a part of the group who made the script for the pledge,” working with other SGA members. Though this unit assisted largely in the process, “the students who were a part of the larger group played a big part,” meaning students who are outside of the SGA and Peer Mediators associations.   

As part of the process of becoming a designated No Place For Hate school, Wilson will be incorporating ADL curriculum, programs, and activities to help students better understand bias within the world. “In the second semester, students on our committee have chosen two activities (from the ADL literature) to start with: a poetry slam and an activity called ‘Just Like Me,’” Minsker said. 

Becoming a No Place For Hate school offers a host of different resources and opportunities for schools, including a curated library of books on different topics that No Place For Hate addresses, lesson plans, and free access to a library of approved activities to promote better school culture. 

By joining the No Place For Hate program, Wilson aims to instill values of anti-bias, anti-bullying, allyship, diversity, and social justice among Wilson students. As of now, over 1,000 Wilson community members have signed the pledge. “We are looking to increase this number to 2,000 in the coming weeks,” Minsker notes.

Weston believes that “It’s important to Wilson to be a No place for Hate school because it can help make a difference in the world. When I say that I mean it can help everyone stop hating on others just because they are different,” Minker adds, “It’s not just about Wilson becoming a No Place for Hate designated school. It’s about standing together with thousands of other schools across the country.”

The Wilson community can sign the pledge here!