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  • Hira Qureshi

PVS high schoolers create school clubs to discuss city issues

Photo by Jennifer Alejo

High schoolers created advocacy groups to work with community partners and discuss various issues in the city.

With the help of English teacher and college counselor, Jennifer Alejo, students have been participating in discussions on city issues.

The advocacy groups cover education, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, Green Memphis, food deserts and Fight for Fifteen.

“At the end of last year, we wanted more engagement between PVS students and the larger Memphis community,” Alejo said. “And so we looked at issues that are prevalent to Memphis.”

Community partners attended group meetings to work with students. Streets Law visited the criminal justice reform group. Halal Food Pantry organizer, Sabriyya Shaw, spoke to the food desert group. And a lobbyist is set to visit the immigration group.

The students also have to complete two projects for the semester within the groups, one at school and the other in the community. They meet weekly and bi-weekly during and after school.

With up to 15 students in each group, students are leading the meetings without any credit incentive.

Alejo hopes students become more aware and start thinking critically about the issues in Memphis.

“So one thing is definitely this awareness in involvement with their city because a lot of students aren't necessarily aware of what's going on in the city,” Alejo said. “But also, I think the community benefits from the voices of these students, they haven't necessarily always been at the table.”

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