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Junior Madison Allen stands in front of a scannable QR code that enables students to report discrimination.

Madison Allen’s QR codes help students report discrimination

‘You are welcome here.’ That is what the scannable QR codes that are scattered throughout the school say. They allow students to report discrimination.

Created by junior Madison Allen and her partner in the Placard Program, junior Alice MacGarvie Thompson, the signs represent Allen’s creativity and problem solving abilities. Allen’s persistence and passion to make change spur her activism.

Allen makes change in the community by figuring out real steps she can take to help combat the issue of discrimination, according to MacGarvie Thompson.

“She is able to think, ‘Okay, what can I practically do about this?’ She can turn ideas into meaningful, local change. A lot of people think you can’t really do anything. She takes an issue and then asks, ‘What can I do in my community?’” MacGarvie Thompson said.

African American Latino Scholar’s teacher Stephanie Hunt said it is important to figure out real ways to help the community as Allen does.

“There are so many issues that students at Brookline High School are aware of and they sometimes feel incredibly overwhelming. Students being able to think about the ways in which that issue directly impacts their local community or their school community and figure out how to address it in measurable, manageable ways is so important,” Hunt said.

One way that Allen makes change is through the Placard Program. It was founded to make the school and Brookline community a better place. The placards made by the program were put in classrooms and schools, according to Allen.

“The incentive behind this program was to not only increase anti-racial profiling signage but to have a visible presence, such as our placards, in communal spaces to remind our store owners that discrimination will not be tolerated and to remind our residents that they are always welcome inside,” Allen said.

Hunt said that the placards were designed in a way that is easily navigable for everyone to use.

“The placards are user-friendly and everybody is used to QR codes. I would hope that seeing and interacting with the placards makes students feel not only welcome, but that if they don’t feel welcome, there is a way to address that,” Hunt said.

Allen said that the most important part of being an activist is continuous action.

“The first step in becoming an activist is having a deeper understanding of the world around us. Also taking the most pressing issue and having the same urgency that the issue holds and applying it to your own community. It is hard to look at an issue globally, but dilate what you can do about the matter,” Allen said. “In my earlier days of activism I fixated too much on the size of events, but the key is uninterrupted activism. Never take your foot off the gas pedal, and each push will take you closer in your fight for justice.”

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