by Yanichka Ariunbold, section editor

The Roar interviewed Maya Rasheed, a passionate member of the newly created Anchor Club co-sponsored by psychology teacher Lindsay Zahn and principal Gwen Elder. 

What exactly is Anchor Club?

Anchor was formed to promote women empowerment, and it’s a club for girls who feel like there’s no one there for them– so we’re all there for each other, and we’re an “anchor” to hold each other down. We also promote awareness about equality between men and women; there are girls at our school who have feminist views but feel like they’re alone because a lot of people around them believes something different–but in Anchor, they wouldn’t feel alone. 

What is your take on feminism?

Most people believe that feminists think that women should have more power than men, but to me, feminism is just wanting the same opportunities, the same rights, and the same treatment as men. I, as a girl, should be treated the same as everyone else because girls and boys both have incredible potential and worth. I’ve grown up hearing that there are certain things I can’t do because I’m a girl– just like in today’s society, girls don’t end up pursuing things like science or math because they think, “Oh, that’s something boys should do,” or “That’s something I shouldn’t even think about doing because I’m a girl.”  I actually want to be a doctor, and as a child, I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor because I want to help people, but a bunch of my family members and relatives would always be like, ‘Are you sure you want to be a doctor?’ because obviously it’s a really difficult field with multiple years of education, and they would ask, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to be just a teacher or get married?’ and tell me that I don’t want to put that much amount of work on myself because I’m a girl. That just pushed me even more into wanting to be a doctor, not just because I want to prove a point but because I can show them that I can help people the same way as anyone else can. 

What kind of influence has the club had on you?

Since the club recently formed, we haven’t done much, but we do a bunch of team-building activities, and I feel like that influences me more every single day to stand up for someone else–like if I hear someone say something that is sexist or not right, instead of shying away and thinking, “Oh, it’s fine, people can believe what they want,” I feel like I’m more prone to stand up for what I believe in, not to bash them obviously but to educate them in a civil manner. So I feel like the club has made my opinion on feminism even stronger. 

What other activities have you been able to do through the club?

We just recently did the MLK march; a group of girls and some of the sponsors went to Bryan and marched from Sadie Thomas park to an elementary school, and we heard a bunch of motivational speakers talk to us, and that was really great and felt really empowering. We also just had a toiletries drive going on during lunch, so we were asking people to donate things like toilet paper, toothpaste, stuff like that, to support our school food pantry. I also know that we were planning on making care packages with inspirational quotes and stuff like chocolate and thinking of writing down an adjective to describe anyone in the school to inspire people and help people with their insecurities and stuff like that. 

How is Anchor Club run?

It’s not run by a president or vice president, we have committees. There’s obviously a leadership committee, and there’s a mental health committee, there’s a public relations committee, and all these committees all come up with their own individual ideas and discuss them, and then the leadership committee, which is what I’m part of, we decide, “Hey this is an idea that we should pursue.” It’s not run by an individual person, and obviously, the teacher sponsors have a say. Since not just one person gets to enforce what goes on, we get a bunch of perspectives and different opinions, and different kinds of activities that go on, and since we have so many people contributing to each meeting, each activity that we do encourages discussion. It helps with not excluding people in the club.