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    Hamilton eighth-graders launch 100% Human Project
    Posted on 05/07/2015
    100% human project poster held by Hamilton eighth gradersHow human are you? The answer of course is "100 percent." We are all 100 percent human, and that's precisely the point behind a weeklong event that a group of eighth-grade organizers are calling the "100% Human Project."

    The project, which eight Hamilton International Middle School students have been planning for months, grew out of discussions within the school's Gay-Straight Alliance club around the struggles of some transgendered or transitioning students. They wanted to help other students see the many subtle ways in which so many students experience insensitivity because of their differences.

    “A lot of people are like ‘Oh Seattle is open minded,’ but people overlook the implicit bias they have in thinking about change,” says one of the organizers.

    The group has made informational posters that include helpline numbers, surveyed the student body and posted the results in a main hallway, and asked students to write “six-word stories” reflecting their experiences with insensitivity and bias. Examples:
    • "Wait, moms? Like you have two?"
    • "What half Asian are you?"
    • "But you aren't a real guy."

    On Friday, May 8, all staff and many students will wear “100% Human” T-shirts, and the organizers will hold a door-decorating contest. The student organizers are (pictured above, left to right): Savannah M., Zoe F., Meghan S., Marcus L., Magdalena P., Kit C., Chloe V. and Lydia M.

    Principal Cindy Watters says she had little to do with the project; the students took the idea and ran with it.

    “My job was to find resources, pave a path and create an opportunity. That’s all I did,” Watters says.

    The group emphasizes that the project is not just about addressing the more expected issues of gender- or race-based insensitivity.

    “Sometimes people at Hamilton feel detached from communities they don’t see all the time even though they actually are here at Hamilton,” says an organizer, giving examples such as those who suffer from mental illness or experience homelessness.

    “That’s what this project is all about, letting people know, ‘Yes, there are people like this, and when you say stuff it hurts people’s feelings.’”