Stand Up Speak Up

An overview of the Stand Up Speak Up campaign.

Nora Lal and Vincent Kwan

With posters taped on campus walls and in classrooms and informative Mitty minutes, the Stand Up Speak Up campaign seeks to highlight macro aggressions and micro aggressions present in our daily lives. Essentially, microaggressions consist of behaviors or verbal interaction that target an individual, while macro aggressions are composed of systemic efforts to demean others. This campaign aimed to empower students to both peacefully prevent and respond to these unwarranted behaviors. Spearheaded by Ms. Vargas, Mitty’s DEI Coordinator and supported by Shepard members, Stand Up Speak Up ensures that all students feel safe and respected at school.

Mitty advocates that the student body treats one another with mutual respect and dignity; thus, the school seeks to address micro and macro aggressions that members of their community may project through their words or actions—even unintentionally. In the eyes of Ms. Salmon, a Shepard Coordinator, whose identity as a Catholic educator led her to contribute to this project, “Education in this topic can create moments for conversations that can change someone’s actions or perceptions forever.”

What are the things that we can do to empower ourselves to respond and to educate ourselves in how we use our language?

— Ms. Patsy Vargas, DEI Coordinator

The Stand Up Speak Up Campaign was launched last December with the mission of educating Mitty’s staff, faculty and administration. It collaborated with various student organizations to produce Mitty Minutes and worked with students to create informational flyers. The campaign even involved parents by informing them on ways to create meaningful conversations at home regarding macroaggressions and microaggressions in the various communities their students may be involved in. Ms. Vargas hopes that her efforts will come into fruition when students, teachers, and the wider community can interact through the “common language and understanding we want to have in school.”

The main goal of the campaign is to educate students and staff to better understand the impacts of macroaggressions and microaggressions. This allows members of the Mitty community to be more aware of the harmful consequences of their actions and know when to speak up if others use macroaggressions or microaggressions. To do so, as Ms. Vargas suggests, people can ask themselves certain questions: “What are the things that we can do to empower ourselves to respond and to educate ourselves in how we use our language?”

Many organizations and clubs of the Mitty community contributed to spreading awareness by helping out with the Stand Up, Speak Up Campaign. Different clubs helped with the morning announcements promoting the campaign, such as the Black Student Union, Latinx Student Union, and Shepherd. In addition, the posters around campus were created by students that wanted to bring greater recognition to the campaign and its cause.

By recognizing macro and microaggressions, members of the Mitty community can better understand how to prevent such actions and statements from taking place. Through spreading awareness, the Stand Up, Speak Up Campaign aims to  fulfill its goals of using education as a means to create a better experience for each individual in the community.