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Upstanding and Understanding

Students from the Somers Middle School No Place for Hate Club and Student Council attended a leadership workshop run by the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center. The workshop was designed just for seventh-graders, and the presenters were assisted by high school students, including Somers students Peyton DiSiena and Kaitlyn DeRosa. The workshop focused on how to be an upstander, respect individuals for their differences and avoid microaggressions.
"A microaggression is a comment you make that offends a person, even if you didn't mean to," says seventh-grader Olivia Soto. "A comment that could be taken as prejudiced or insulting to a group, like about race."
The students were broken into groups and worked through different scenarios to help them recognize and avoid making unintended hurtful comments. They also discussed the importance of standing up for others.
"What I took away from the workshop," says Julia Schmidberger, "is that I should not just stand by when someone is being hurtful. I should be an upstander."