by Anne Elise B. ’22 and Noa R. ’22, LARS leaders
We’re Anne Elise and Noa, leaders of the Lakeside Anti-Racist Students (LARS) group, which is a new learning group that launched this year. We’re both juniors who are passionate about social justice and anti-racist advocacy work, of course! We co-founded LARS last year alongside members of the Class of 2020. Originally, the intent for the group was to create a space for white-identifying students to discuss topics of race and racial privilege without burdening BIPOC members of Lakeside’s community; however, after taking into account the widespread protests and racial reckoning that took place in our country following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery this past spring, we decided to modify and expand LARS to welcome all students, regardless of race — because anti-racism work is not limited to one racial group.
Our mission statement is as follows:
LARS is a group of students at Lakeside whose goal is to unpack the complex systems of race and racial bias that govern our school and general societal environment. We are committed to the inclusion of all races in this group. The white members must recognize that it is not the burden of BIPOC members to educate their white peers on topics like microaggressions and racial biases that occur within the Lakeside community. We aim to guide our members towards unlearning their unconscious biases and becoming anti-racist advocates through discussions, as well as striving together to develop skills as activists/organizers for more equitable schools and communities.
LARS is a discussion-based group; subjects will range from how racism and white privilege impact the Lakeside community to anti-racism on a national scale. The topic selections for our guided conversations will be based on the interests of our members, and the two of us will facilitate each session. We want to create a space where everyone feels respected and comfortable sharing their perspectives. Mistakes are bound to happen as we launch this group, so our aim is to cultivate a supportive environment that encourages a growth mindset for our members — ourselves included. Our first meeting will take place in the next month or two, and we are excited to see LARS develop into a thriving discussion space this year!