Could you first tell us your name and age?
My name is Areesh Azhar and I am 12 years old!
Tell us about ECS Empower?
ECS Empower is a magazine created by detected students to help raise awareness for BLM (Black Lives Matter).
Why did you decide to get involved in the magazine? What was your contribution?
I decided to get involved in the process of making this magazine because I wanted to raise awareness for BLM, as I think it is very unfair that people are being treated differently due to their skin colour.
How did you find the process of creating your own magazine? What were some of the fun bits?
I found the process very engaging and the whole process of making this magazine has been fun. However, the part I enjoyed the most was debating on what we should call the magazine!!
And was there anything you found challenging?
Yes, the thing I found challenging was deciding what role to pick for the magazine. All the roles were amazing and so, it was really hard for me to choose! But I ended up picking co-writer, and I’m really happy with it!
How do you feel conversations about race and racism have changed over the last year?
I feel way more confident because now I know a lot more information about these topics.
Do you feel hopeful that racism will one day no longer exist?
I don’t feel confident that racism will be 100% gone, but I do believe that with the help of determined students (like the ECS Empower) we will of course make a difference one day! But unfortunately there will always be people that have their own opinions and share negativity and hatred :(
In the magazine I was really interested to read about dealing with racism in school, and that 80% of students polled had seen at least one racist incident. Is this an issue you feel is being dealt with appropriately? What more could be done to tackle it?
I think teachers, or any adult in general, are doing the best they can to deal with racist incidents but as I said before there will always be people who like to share negative opinions. I think creating websites, magazines, posters etc. could be done to tackle these incidents as it will also prevent it from happening in the future.
Are there any particular people, projects or initiatives that you think are doing good work in challenging racism at the moment?
I think teachers, people going on protests and social media stars that post about BLM are doing very good work by just being brave enough to stand up to all the hate people spread in the world.
What do you want to be when you get older?
At the moment, I am interested in doing dentistry but that might change as I move into different year groups and start going deep into different subjects that might link to dentistry.
And, thinking broadly, what is your biggest hope for the future?
My biggest hope in the future is that everyone starts to be treated equally and nobody is left out in school, jobs etc.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
All I want to say is never be afraid to share your opinion. But obviously, if you think you will be offending anyone then don’t. :)
Areesh Azhar is a contributor to ECS Empower. To find out more about the magazine, and hear from other young people who worked on it, follow this link.