“We have never truly been real about race in this country,” exclaimed Patrick Duffy Barton Middle School principal and founder of student group Dare To Be Real program that hosted the conference. South High’s anti-racism network, s.t.a.r.t. was invited for their outstanding organization of honest discussions around race at South.
Standing in the auditorium filled with students from various high schools and middle schools in the Twin Cities, Duffy asked the audience, “what’s your REP?” Your: Racial, Equity, Purpose. The premise was for students to be real, have real conversations about race and equity, especially at your school.
“Even if you haven’t been on the front page [South, Washburn, Hopkins] you all have your own stories, your individual micro aggressions.” Duffy stated. Duffy was followed by speeches from Barton students and local hip hop artist Brother Ali. All speakers touched on the fact that racism is still alive in the world and that having real conversations about race will inform and change institutionalised racism.
Senior Saida Mahammud attended the event. “I enjoyed brother Ali’s speech and really connected to what he was saying.”
Then students broke into small groups where a presenter facilitated a discussion about race. Some seemed constructive, junior Amirah Ellison made a painting about what race ment to her. Some reportedly forgot the audience they were speaking to. Junior Eva McCauly commented, “I was turned off not inspired by their hostility.”
Over all Mahammud left feeling “I felt optimistic seeing youth participating in a conference and interested in spreading awareness of racial equity.”