Throughout history, youth have been at the center of making change. Here are a few reflections from high school students of color who chose to speak out against racism.
For some students, their participation is a continuation of activism work they started in 2018 after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., or in 2019 during the worldwide protests for climate action. For others, it’s not only their first time speaking out, but it’s their first time organizing.
Education Week Video spoke with 16 high school students from across the country who are engaging with their communities.
“I know what motivated me was not seeing a lot of protests happening in Baton Rouge prior to all of the deaths that have been happening in the country,” said Noah Hawkins, a 16-year-old student at Baton Rouge Magnet High School in Louisiana.
Other students emphasized the importance of making sure that this movement goes beyond a moment.
“We can’t just look at the death of George Floyd, the death of Breonna Taylor, and the death of Amaud Arbury and think that that happened on that date and therefore we move on,” said Sofia Hidalgo, who graduated this spring from Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Md. “The movement is against police brutality, it’s against systematic oppression, it’s against institutionalized racism and that doesn’t disappear when the protests end.”
For students like Jenaan Ahmed, a newly-graduated senior from Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, there’s also hope in the nationwide scale of the demonstrations.
“I’m feeling a sense of global connectedness through all of this because every day, every hour, there’s a new city or a new town somewhere in the U.S. that’s protesting,” Ahmed said. “So it feels good to know that our struggle right now is not isolated and we are not alone.”