Letter sparks change in classroom


Photo by Alyssa Degan.

Amanda Feinberg, Copy Editor

Going into college, senior Helene Avila was set on becoming a premedical major for as long as she could remember. Her aspiration was to become a doctor, the profession which she decided was the best fit for her. 


However, in John Camardella’s world religions class, Avila was given the opportunity to write a 12 page persuasive letter to the United States Department of Commerce in Nov. addressing the violence that has happened against women around the world and asking for change to take place.


A former student of Camardella who works in the department responded to Avila and scheduled a Zoom meeting with her after winter break. From the Zoom call, Avila was able to tweak parts of her proposal, which included an assembly and fundraiser in D214 to support women around the world. Avila set a meeting with the full Department of Commerce and multiple meetings with state senators.  


“It’s really motivating and inspiring … being able to use our privilege to do something good and something that can help other women who don’t have the same privilege as us,” Avila said. 


Avila recognized the privilege she holds by being a woman in America, and through writing her letter she was able to advocate for other women such as 22 year old Mahsa Amini who was killed in the Iranian regime. 


“[The women’s rights issues in Iran] struck something in me because … I talk about my privilege of living in America and having freedom of speech which is something a lot of women in other countries don’t have,” Avila said. 


Avila believes in the power of becoming educated in world issues, especially because high school students can be of age to vote in the upcoming elections. She hopes that through her proposal she can educate other students to take action about topics they may feel passionate about.


“I’m hoping that other students can find their passion … and speak up about something that they feel strongly about even if they’re scared that nothing is going to happen if they do,” Avila said.