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Many IB students know the importance of words. Teachers continuously want students to analyze why authors use the vocabulary they use. What connotation does that word have and what was the author trying to make readers feel? What is the cultural or temporal context that the word has? Words make us feel certain ways depending on the tone, the situation or the person who is speaking to us. Words mean different things to different people depending on how they have experienced things in the past. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.


During our first assembly, the administration repeatedly drew attention to the phrase,  “#DeadlinesMatter.” While I was sitting I couldn’t help but make the connection of the hashtag being promoted at school to the current movement in the United States, #BlackLivesMatter.


Black Lives Matter is an international activist movement originating in the Black community that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people, mainly in the United States of America. It seemed to me that the movement against police brutality was being used as a way to enforce the importance of deadlines by equalizing the seriousness of both matters. I could not help feeling that this was wrong. It bothered me that my own school would connect an activist movement about murder, with a policy about deadlines. Clearly, black people being murdered is not nearly as serious as not turning in an essay; and obviously, no one at Graded would purposefully attempt to equate the seriousness of an activist movement with the importance of deadlines.


Deadlines are important, yes. Our teachers care about them, our administrators care about them, our counselors care about them, and the deadlines aren’t even theirs. So why don’t we? At the end of the day, everyone that cares about us meeting our deadlines just want what’s best for us. We have to be responsible for our actions. The hashtag was a good idea, it was just poorly executed because of the wording. I propose that instead of #DeadlinesMatter we use #WeCareForDeadlines. This hashtag acknowledges that deadlines count and that they will take overwhelm us and affect our grades if we don’t manage them accordingly. Simultaneously, this hashtag does not devalue the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. The word “care” alone shows that we value deadlines, we are motivated to reach our deadlines, and we face deadlines as an encouraging task instead of a forced obligation. Graded is such a diverse and internationally-minded school and it is our responsibility to take matters that may have been misunderstood into our own hands and right the wrongs.