We’d like to share with you a letter we received about an incredible young lady called Emily from East Lothian in Scotland. The SING team were incredibly touched by her determination to raise awareness and spread the messages from the heart of the SING campaign.
This letter was sent form one of her teachers……….
Dear Ms Lennox,
I write to draw your attention to one of our Senior students, Emily, who is, of her own accord, in the process of communicating the SING message, within our school and local community.
I had the privilege of attending the teacher conference you hosted at the Scottish Parliament this summer and wore my ‘HIV positive’ T shirt for a week, challenging the stereotypes attached to HIV/Aids amongst our youngsters and, sadly, some adults). Subsequently, my proudly displayed SING t-shirt began to attract newspaper clippings, pupil comments and information they had found on the internet and in magazines. In essence, the fact that you are a Scottish woman who identified a global social justice issue and used your talents and network to address this issue caught the imagination of the youngsters; you are “one of us and you’ve done it”. Emily was particularly engaged with your story and, as is her want, attempted to engage in discussion with peers and some adults on the HIV/Genocide assertion made my Nelson Mandela. Emily became increasingly frustrated at the ‘ignorant’ and ‘apathetic’ attitude of the people she spoke to on what
she sees as a ‘completely unacceptable and easily remedied’ problem. She eventually brought the issue to me, in her characteristically direct way; ‘miss, what are we going to do about this?’.
This was not an unfamiliar stance for me, as a Social Subjects teacher, Amnesty International Youth Group Co-coordinator and Oxfam campaigner I am associated with campaigning, teaching controversial issues and fundraising. Emily has, without being asked, brought her bagpipes to every event, which is more within her budget than donating money. My most cherished role is that of teacher advisor to the editorial team of our school magazine which aims to applaud our thriving School community by bringing readers the news and experiences of our students and recording our major events and achievements in the hope of launch students on a lifelong adventure in reading and writing, but also making it a lifelong habit to tackle inequality in the world.
Emily has decided to educate everyone. She is in the process of visiting every Personal and Social Education class giving a presentation she’s created from the notes I took from your Scottish Parliament presentation, the newspaper clippings donated by other students/teachers, your SING website and wearing the SING t-shirt. She will, in the space of one week, have re-educated almost 1,400 students, single handedly.
In essence, Emily has resolved to do as much as she can to bring attention to the HIV/Aids crisis from posting an online promotion to her friends and peers to tell everyone she knows about HIV/AIDS and to encourage them to find out more and get involved. She has asked me to email all the staff with information on SING, she has organised a stall at our FestiveALL event on 21st December to help spread the word and raise money. She has also petitioned our ICT expert about putting a SING banner on our website and is creating a page for our school magazine blog.
At your presentation, tears were shed at your appeal to ‘mother’s solidarity’, I hope this story touches you in the same way this girl is the girl we can only hope our daughters grow up to be.