High school is a time and place for teenagers to discover their voices and cultivate ideal forms of expression to take out into the world and make a positive impact. Some are voices of discovery, using mathematical equations to explore new frontiers of space and time. Some are voices of inner ruminations, using visual media to explore the human condition. Some are voices of development or strategy, using programming and communication tools to bring together teams of voices to find practical solutions and get things done.
The voices and their expressions are as varied and unique as the individuals. And as Maya Angelou said, “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”
So, it’s always a joy to observe when a voice is truly heard and impacts the community already during the high school experience, like that of Amalinalli MH, Areté graduate 2020.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai
As a freshman, Amalinalli was ready to begin advocating on issues such as gender equity, LGBTQ+ rights, intersectionality, climate justice, and access to adequate medical care internationally. She jumped right in and formed Areté’s GSA (Gender & Sexuality Alliance) club and continued her efforts by volunteering at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and acting as a student board member of S.A.V.E. (Student Action Volunteer Effort).
At the start of senior year, Amalinalli became an ambassador for Girls Learn International (GLI), a Program of the Feminist Majority Foundation that empowers and educates middle and high school students to advocate for human rights, equality, and universal education in the U.S. and around the world; build a movement of informed advocates for universal girls’ education; and become a new generation of leaders and activists for social change.
GLI is the ideal platform for Amalinalli’s goal of raising awareness about important contemporary issues and learning more about them in the process. As a member of GLI’s Feminist Focus blog team, she leans hard into gender issues. In Missing a Beat: Gender Disparity in Medical Research and Patient Experience, she shines a light on how “women remain immensely underrepresented in biomedical research. Insufficiently included in clinical studies that inform the medical field, women are left susceptible to misdiagnoses, misinformed treatment, and physical suffering that otherwise might be prevented.”
In Narratives Matter: Languages and Social Power Structures, Amalinalli dissects “numerous ways in which humans reflect and perpetuate aspects of our culture (specifically negatives ones) through the structure and usage of our language,” illuminating how “sexist stereotypes and norms are perpetuated through the words that are cognitively associated with men and women, and which are used to describe them.”
Both posts are worth a read to gain fresh perspective on these issues!
We applaud Amalinalli and all our striving champions of expression and building a better world and encourage all students to keep exploring and developing your true voices and acting on them. It may take a while or only a minute but it’s worth it. As former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”
Speak up, people!
Amalinalli MH. will attend Pitzer College in the fall of 2020. She attended independent microschool Areté Preparatory Academy in West Los Angeles for her four years of high school.