Hi my name is Oscar, I am a 9th grader at life academy. For the last 3 weeks we worked on an upstander project where we choose a topic and had to figure out ways to be an upstander for that topic. My teams topic was Immigration, I choose this topic because it is something that affects me and my family which makes me really care about it. In this project we learned a lot about being an upstander and after this project being an upstander to me means someone who stands for people who are oppressed or less privilege. The actions that we did to become upstanders is we made a letter to ICE to talk about how immigrants are oppressed in this country and then posted that letter to youth voices, then we made flyers that we hanged around the school, we designed t-shirts to represent immigrants that are oppressed in this country, we made an instagram account (@Immigrants_R_People_Too) in which we posted facts and posted picture of us doing our actions, finally we responded to youth voices comments. In this project I learned how I can be an upstander in many ways to people, even just posting a fact about an issue or participating in a strike I can be an upstander to other people and it is a great feeling. Immigration is something that affects my family and I am really passionate about this topic and it showed how if I am passionate about something that i can create change. As a student I learned a lot about my peers and how they too were passionate about their topics. I learned how to be a helping hand to other groups and overall developed teamwork skills. I also developed a lot of leadership skills through this project to guide my team to the right path.
I learned that being an upstander can be hard in the beginning because you basically start from scratch and it can be hard to work your way up and become an upstander that is known. It is hard to be an upstander in a world where there aren’t that much of upstanders and it makes it difficult to make change about something that I care about when I don’t have that many others fighting for it too. I also learned about how being an upstander you can encounter bystanders than may push you back but you need to learn how to make that bystander an upstander and that can be very difficult. My next steps is to continue being an upstander for immigrants and continue to post on our instagram to make sure people are aware of the oppression that immigrants receive in the U.S. I want to finish my t-shirt and wear it to event so people look and think about immigrants and the oppression that they receive. Some advice that I give to upcoming upstander is that even if it seems difficult to create change for the thing that you are fighting for. Being an upstander is something that we need in this world and something that people urge and you can be an upstander and free people from the bubble of oppression that they are in. Upstanders are amazing people and something that this world lacks thank you for being upstanders.