A new year of SOAR


By Tenaya Tremp

Though only in its third year of existence, Tam’s branch of Students Organizing for Anti-Racism (SOAR) has already won a national level award. Led by sophomore president Ruby Rose Amezcua and advised by social studies teacher Claire Ernst and science teacher Laura Erickson, the club is focused on leading honest conversations about race and the experiences of those on Tam’s campus.

“We’re trying… to really make [SOAR] a space that anyone feels welcome, especially students of color, where we can actively have that conversation about race and do things to make Tam a more welcoming place,” Amezcua said.

SOAR meetings take place during lunch on Thursdays in room 154. The meetings are “a place to come and talk about what sort of issues are coming up for people, which obviously varies all the time,” Ernst said.

“The people are really great and nice,” said Amezcua, “and there’s food provided. It’s not a major commitment, people can come whenever they can.” Drop-ins are welcome and always appreciated, according to Amezcua.

Another aspect of SOAR’s agenda is having members attend around four day-long trainings with students from other clubs at Tam and throughout the school district. “Most of the staff [at Tam] have attended these all day trainings about racial equity and racial justice,” said Ernst. “The students also go through a similar training… it’s similar to what the faculty goes through but it’s more focused on ultimately activism, like what are you going to take back to your campus and what are you going to do to try to start addressing racism as you see it showing up.”

After participating in these training days, members of SOAR have to figure out how to incorporate the things that they learned into their work at Tam. Last year, they helped run one of their biggest events yet, Breakthrough Day, during which all students worked on having open conversations on race and listened to different presentations about race.

SOAR plans to build from the momentum of last year. “I know that there’s a lot of plans to continue to plan these actions and events that will bring the Tam community in and further conversations about race,” said Ernst.

“We have workshops for teachers planned in terms of making them more aware of what’s going on at the school and what they can do if problems arise,” said Amezcua. “We also want to have more workshops with students, more guest speakers, and more events that celebrate other cultures.”