Equality Through Equity


Madeeha Naqvi, Design Editor and News Reporter

Equality, or at least the desire for equality, is knit in the fabrics of this country and school as individuals try to strive for it everyday. According to Merriam Webster, equality is defined as ‘likeliness or sameness in quality, power, status, or degree.’ This universally accepted ideal is driven by factors such as diversity and variability in a premises, especially schools.
The mechanism to achieve equality is a similar concept known as equity. According to LEAD MN, “equity is about making sure people get access to the same opportunities.”
In order to enhance equality in the schools of Loudoun County through the utilization of equity, the ‘Student Equity Program’ came into existence. In the program, every middle and high school in the county selected three students as ‘Student Equity Ambassadors.’
The students were selected not on the basis of academic excellence, but on their ability to both project and readily accept opinions. These ambassadors from across the county discuss, corroborate, and collaborate with each other every alternate month to get one step closer to achieving equality.
“These meetings, so far, have introduced me to a variety of perspectives that I didn’t expect to see in Loudoun County because I thought that most high schools in the county would relatively share the same body of students and like-minded thinking, and it opened me up to all the possibilities ,” said Ali Khokhar, a co-equity ambassador of Briar Woods.
While equality is the eventual goal to reach in the school systems, the journey follows an acronym known as JEDI: justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. This standard has been set by the policy makers of Loudoun County Public Schools, namely Veronica Cuadradro, Lottie Spurlock, among others.
Every meeting, the hosts and equity ambassadors try to break down each of the JEDI concepts with a series of questions, such as ‘what are some of the social movements taking place in the United States?’, which prompts students to not only reflect upon the current status of equality, but also create ways to combat inequality and unfairness in schools.
“ Justice and equality [are the most important among the JEDI concepts] because if we look at it from the perspective that it’s been difficult for people to be equal or achieve justice in the past, we are working through it,” said Carlee Nash, a co- equity ambassador of Briar Woods High School.
The JEDI concept and the Equity program are not exclusive in maintaining equality, other clubs at Briar Woods also strive to achieve the same. A striking example is the Minority Student Council, or MSC.
“When we are thinking about equality and equity, belonging is a really big idea to underscore in that. I think MSC has targeted belonging as a core element. Bringing people together and having conversations with people who normally wouldn’t gravitate towards each other is something really important in achieving that belonging,” said senior Sahana Sreeram.
The senior further brings into notice the efforts the Minority Student Council makes to include others of different backgrounds via programs displaying a multitude of cultures. Furthermore, the club decorates bulletin boards at Briar Woods with symbols of diversity to better reflect the nature of the student body and raise awareness in order to attain equality.
Their programs and efforts tackle two of the vital JEDI concepts: diversity and inclusion in order to achieve the desired objective of equality.
While MSC and the Student Equity Program are courses of action that can be executed at a far-reaching scale, students can also inculcate the practice of equality in their everyday lives.
“Students can do so by joining these clubs like MSC, immersing themselves into different cultures, learning about people; that’s the best way to understand how you can create a community of like-minded individuals that aren’t separated by trivial aspects such as race or religion, but instead united as human beings and high school students,” said Khokhar.