Air Academy is No Place for Hate

From+left+to+right+%28front%29+teachers+Emily+Doryk%2C+Traci+Trimbach%2C+Elise+Hatfield%2C+Jill+Weis%2C+Mary+Anderson%2C+Amy+Cofield%2C+Tateum+Bowers%3B+%28back%29+David+Miles%2C+Dallas+Hall%2C+Rachel+Cullen+participating+in+the+Walk+Against+Hate.+

From left to right (front) teachers Emily Doryk, Traci Trimbach, Elise Hatfield, Jill Weis, Mary Anderson, Amy Cofield, Tateum Bowers; (back) David Miles, Dallas Hall, Rachel Cullen participating in the Walk Against Hate.

Through the course of a week in October, people from all over the country participated in the Walk Against Hate, a fundraising walk to raise money for the Anti-Defamation League (abbreviated as ADL). A multitude of those walkers were from Air Academy High School. From Oct. 12th to Oct. 18th, students and teachers alike took part in the Walk Against Hate, with the resurgence of the No Place for Hate initiative at our school.

No Place for Hate is a nationwide educational program founded and organized by the Anti-Defamation League. The  purpose of the initiative is to help “take the lead on improving and maintaining school climate so all students can thrive,” as stated on the ADL website

Science teacher Elizabeth Schlichter takes a picture with students before they embark on their Walk Against Hate.

Schools who join the program do so by completing a variety of tasks, including taking a needs assessment, forming a No Place for Hate committee, signing the Resolution of Respect, completing the One A World of Difference® Institute training program, and enacting school-wide anti-bias and anti-bullying prevention initiatives. Implementing the club may seem like a tremendous  amount of work but there is no doubt that No Place for Hate is an exceedingly crucial program to have at Air Academy. 

Science teacher Elizabeth Schlichter explained why: 

“At Air Academy we value inclusiveness. We want all students to know they belong and are valued,” said Schlichter. “No Place for Hate is important because we need to continue to be aware of discrimination and prejudice. These show up in so many different ways and it is important to recognize what they can look like.”

No Place for Hate was first implemented at Air Academy during the 2016-2017 school year, and has been largely on-and-off, with the initiative tapering off last year. While it has been a year since No Place for Hate has last been a club at Air Academy, its significance now is more apparent than ever. 

Members of the Services to Exceptional Students Department show their support for No Place for Hate.

“Given these unprecedented times, it’s imperative that everyone check their biases and not blame individuals for widespread issues,” said junior Shay Anderson. 

No Place for Hate Club Member Shay Anderson participates in the Walk Against Hate.

Over the course of 2020, students have been faced with, arguably, the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century. With the effects of the pandemic, racial struggles and political tensions rising, it is a tremendously important time to show solidarity and join together. 

Air Academy science teachers participate in the Walk Against Hate.

“The goal of this club is to spread awareness and educate about these issues rather than place judgement,” said Anderson.

With the current global situation, organizing events for No Place for Hate has been exceptionally difficult, but the activities that have occurred reflect the grit and creativity of the club organizers. 

“Since we are new, the first thing we worked on was the Walk Against Hate. We are also meeting to work on a theme for each month to bring awareness and fight injustice,” said Schlichter. 

Currently, the club meets once of month virtually.

“The students in the club have been concentrating efforts on mental health and individual wellbeing at this time as members can’t meet collectively,” said Anderson. 

Students who would still like to join can contact Mary Anderson or Elizabeth Schlichter. 

“It is so important to stand together,” said Schlichter. “We encourage you to participate at any time.”