Aiming to unite

Mercy’s Human Relations Council sponsors forums to discuss unity within the Mercy community.

Senior+Blair+Cha+and+Junior+Indya+Hood+led+HRC%27s+forum+on+Tuesday+about+unity+among+the+girls+of+Mercy.+%28Photo+credit%3A+Paisley+Sutton%29

Senior Blair Cha and Junior Indya Hood led HRC's forum on Tuesday about unity among the girls of Mercy. (Photo credit: Paisley Sutton)

Lilly Blake, Design Editor

“Who is hotter?” a tweet from @248polls reads. Following that question, two girls’ names are listed, in a poll format, so that Twitter users in the Detroit area can vote on which one is more attractive. Twenty-four hours and roughly 500 votes later, the results are in. One girl is hot, the other is not.

Although @248polls has since come to an end, tweets like these are regularly posted on multiple different accounts, which are followed by teens everywhere. Girls, couples, and even sports teams are rated by people all over the area. Although seemingly innocent, these accounts can leave many upset. They can be incredibly destructive to anyone involved. Mercy’s Human Relations Council (HRC) recently initiated student-run forums to address this.

Senior HRC co-chair Blair Cha is the head of student outreach, planning and leading these student forums. HRC members started these forums so that they could start putting their efforts into encouraging positive student relationships in the school.

“HRC [is best known for] our Black History month assembly and the Ethnic Bazaar,” said Cha. “HRC is about promoting human relations so we thought it was important to putting our efforts to encouraging positive student relationships at Mercy.”

The recent advent of infamous accounts like @248polls promoted everything but positive relationships among Mercy girls and left a bad taste in many of the HRC members’ mouths. They decided that something had to be done.

“We noticed some inappropriate trends in social media between Mercy girls and figured we needed something to calm the drama and, together, find the best way to talk with everyone and improve student relations,” said Cha.

Since topics like this can be touchy and difficult to talk about, forums are an excellent way to bring up these issues and inspire change. Junior HRC representative Indya Hood loves the way the forums encourage girls, who are generally nervous to express their concerns to others, to speak up and voice their feelings.

“Girls who attend learn about how fellow Mercy students feel about the certain situations we discuss [at the forums],” said Hood. “The forums, whether a student speaks or not, can be very enlightening.”

Freshman counselor Mrs. Trish Brown was impressed that the forums designated time and space for students to talk about problems on social media. She noticed the Twitter accounts @248polls and @Mhsmigossipgirl and how they became a form of online gossip in the Mercy community. She believes that they are damaging to girls’ self-esteem and self worth.

“Anytime an anonymous account is created on social media, I can’t help but be skeptical and cannot support any avenue of social media being used to put others down,” said Mrs. Brown. “[Social media] can be tough to navigate, because what one person considers a joke or funny, another could find insensitive and hurtful.”

Mrs. Brown believes social media has two powers: to really make someone feel good or to make someone feel awful. On Jan. 22, during advisor group, Mercy Link Crew promoted #GirlLove, a campaign created by YouTuber Lilly Singh to encourage more love, positivity, and support among women and girls to help end “girl-on-girl hate.”

“I am all about anything that encouraged females to support each other,” said Mrs. Brown. “It is almost as if we are wired to believe that dimming someone else’s light will make our own shine brighter and that just isn’t the case.”

Mrs. Brown hopes #GirlLove will inspire girls to continue spreading kindness, which will overshadow the desire to bring someone down.

“Maybe these forums will encourage more kindness and less meanness between Mercy girls on social media,” said Mrs. Brown.

HRC member Junior Ciara Lopus has attended several of HRC’s forums. She values listening to what others have to say on these pertinent issues.

“I like the forums because I think it is a good new way for HRC to reach out and be a part of the Mercy community by talking about important, everyday issues in a new, different way,” Lopus said. “I think the topic of social media is especially important because it is something that affects everyone.”

Senior HRC member Jenna Chami feels strongly about these issues, too.

“The issue of people not treating other people nicely on social media angers me,” Chami said. “I do not understand why people have to put other people down, especially on platforms that many other people are able to see.”