New elective intends to empower students to take action


Sophie Reeves

A new elective, Activism in the United States, will be taught at Wilson next year. The half-credit course designed by history teacher Aaron Besser aims to educate students on activism and empower them to use their voices for change.

The class focuses on the rich history of activism in our country, as well as connecting the use of social media for activism. The elective’s goal is to solidify the idea in any student’s mind that their voice makes an impact, and that their actions can help make Wilson, DC, and our world, a better, safer, more inclusive place.

Besser said he was inspired to create this class because, in the past year, teenagers and adults alike have seen some of the most moving and significant advocacy in their lives. 

“All the protests and all the injustice…all the activism that happened over the summer, didn’t really get a chance to be debriefed,” Besser said. He intends to tie in our country’s current political situation throughout the course.

The curriculum is not final at this moment, but it is likely that it will be split between  different themes with guiding questions. Examples of themes include a unit dedicated to discussing race, gender, and possibly social class. 

“I want it to be discussion-heavy, it’s a conversation we need to learn to have well. Having difficult conversations is a skill in and of itself,” Besser said.

The class will place a strong emphasis on student empowerment, especially through one of its essential questions: “What are the problems in my community? What can I do to help?” 

The curriculum will also include a final project, a course-long cumulative effort to brainstorm, create, and execute a chosen method of activism. This would likely be group-based, with students working progressively throughout the semester. 

Activism in the United States will be full of nearly 250 years of historical protests, boycotts, and advocacy. This class is designed to be educational and interactive, with its unique final project dedicated to uplifting a chosen part of our community.