Students Drive Change through #recognizesexism Campaign


Erika Meehan

Peer Mentor co-leader, Margaret Michalak, speaks at the #recognizesexism unveiling

Virginia Cannella, Staff Writer

Last April, the female students of Hopkins organized a sit-in in response to the sexist policies and actions within the school environment. The students stood up to voice their concerns and tell personal stories of their experiences with unfair treatment in the school, and this was met with much support from the administration. The Gender Equity Task Force was formed as a direct response to the sit-in, and the students and staff involved have since been working towards bringing awareness and finding solutions to issues within school policies ever since.

On January 20th, the Gender Equity Task Force held an alumni event at the boys’ and girls’ basketball games to launch their #recognizesexism campaign. Around a month prior to the event, with help from photographer Tom Pitta, designer Jacquelyn Shea, and Meghan Rothschild of Chikmedia, the group was able to create empowering posters to show criticisms of degrading, sexist statements and photographs with the phrase “I can. I do. I fight.” to show the determined spirit of the Gender Equity Task Force. Volunteers from the Task Force had posed for these pictures, finally revealed at the basketball event and then hung up in the hallways of Hopkins.

In between the boys’ basketball game and the girls,’ members of the Task Force went down onto the court, uncovering the posters following speeches from Ms. Camuso, Miranda Pitta, and Margaret Michalak. Attendees included many of the students from Hopkins Academy, Hadley Elementary School, community members, and Hopkins alumni invited to view the event. Pictures of Mr. Vreeland, Miranda Pitta, and Leah Picard were displayed for the crowd’s viewing and were well received by the audience.

Along with revealing the posters, the students of the Task Force volunteered their time during the games to sell raffle tickets in support of the Center for Women & Community at UMass. The organization offers free services to women, including alternatives to standard counseling and workshops dealing with maintaining healthy relationships or preventing sexual violence. A total of $371 was raised for the center, to which the members of Gender Equity are happy to be donating.

The hard work of the Gender Equity Task Force was accurately reflected in the launch of its #recognizesexism campaign, and the many photographs comprising part of the project are now on display in the halls of Hopkins.


Erika Meehan
English Department Chair, April Camuso, begins the unveiling with the task force by her side
Erika Meehan
Hopkins’ students: Gabby Palmisano, Jupiter Fetler, Margaret Michalak and Mark Pierce run the raffle table


Three of the 14 images released in the #recognizesexism campaign