The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

Students for change

Jack Rumsey

Jack Rumsey (12) is vocal, outspoken and passionate about gender equality. His passion set in a year ago on a car ride home from a family trip. While reading a news article on his phone about the Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade, Rumsey came to a realization. 

“That’s when it came to the forefront of my mind, I knew this was important, but now, this is really important,” Rumsey said. “That’s what kickstarted my ambition to get into advocating for [gender equality].” 

Rumsey started to attend meetings the second Monday of each month for the Human Rights Committee (HRC) of East Lansing. The HRC is a council made up of volunteers who propose ways to make sure that everybody’s needs are being met throughout the city. Rumsey first started going to meetings for a project in his government class and eventually became hooked. 

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“Obviously, I’m not eligible to be on the council, but I feel passionate about a lot of the issues and decision-making they do,” Rumsey said. 

Rumsey is also a member of Students For Gender Equality (SGE), which meets every Monday to discuss gender equality issues which is something Rumsey feels strongly about. When Rumsey’s passion began, there were feelings of frustration about the issues and problems going on. Now, there are just feelings of curiosity and genuine interest. 

Carmela Watson 

Treasurer for SGE, Carmela Watson (12), is passionate about gender equality and interested in women’s studies. Waton’s interest was sparked after being on cross country after noticing slight gender inequalities during her time on the team  She especially noticed discrepancies at cross country camp this year. “The girls felt like the rest of the team got help,” Watson said. “It was weird because they put us on a different trail for the workout, and they didn’t help us. I felt really neglected, and I [felt] like we were really separate,” Watson said. 

Watson hopes to help solve the problem by speaking to coaches and other adults about the matter.

SGE has always been a huge platform for Watson, and this year is her first year on board. 

“It’s a nice space to be able to express how I feel about the team,” Watson said. “I’m trying to learn more about how women are treated differently in different situations and how I can help make a change,” Watson said. 

Corissa Pittman 

Corissa Pittman (9) is a passionate activist for disability rights, LGBTQ rights and indigenous people’s rights. Pittman is a part of two activism programs, Youth Employment Ambassador Host and The Center on Youth Voice, Youth Choice. Being a part of both of these groups are extremely important to Pittman because it allows them to speak and educate people about alternatives to guardianship. 

“Guardianship is when a person with a disability turns 18 and their rights get shipped away,” Pittman said. ”People don’t always don’t know that there are alternatives that can give disabled people  more autonomy in their own life without taking it all away from them,” Pittman said. 

Teaching people with disabilities to learn on-the-job skills allows Pittman to make them feel like they are making a real difference. And as someone with a disability, Pittman feels strongly about making a difference and speaking out for disability rights.

 “I kind of just saw like all these things that other people were able to do and they just I wasn’t included in,” Pittman said. “I just don’t think that that’s fair. I don’t think anybody should not be included in doing things that make them happy.”

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About the Contributor
Grace Papineau, Staff Writer
Grace Papineau is in the class of 2026 and is a staff writer for Portrait.  This is her first year on staff as a sophomore.  Grace's favorite thing about journalism is knowing relevant information and writing about it.   When she's not in the newsroom, Grace loves acting, which is her passion.

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