It’s Time To Talk START

South START students discuss race at the Convention Center in Minneapolis

Sophie Downey

South START students discuss race at the Convention Center in Minneapolis

Sophie Downey, Features Editor

Members of s.t.a.r.t. (students as allies for racial trust) attended the YWCA’s annual  “It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race” on Wednesday, October 23. The event was a luncheon that facilitated small group discussions around the topic of race.

  “It was really exciting,” said senior and s.t.a.r.t. leader Fatuma Abdi.  “It was important to go because students and young people need to realize that people [adults] do care about race.”

 Over 1000 people attended the event, including students from South and Anwatin. s.t.a.r.t. members sat at tables mixed with other attendees of the conference, mostly adults. Discussions on race were facilitated in these groups.

 The keynote speaker, Andres T. Tapia, is an internationally recognized diversity expert.  He encouraged the listeners to take action against racism  through six steps.

 “ I thought the speaker was amazing. He talked about [how] the more people share their stories, the less racial tensions there will be,” said Abdi.

 In the next month, s.t.a.r.t. will be planning and holding a Student/Teacher dinner. This will be similar to the student dinners of last year, but will give teachers and staff in the building an opportunity to be heard as well. Though the topic has not been decided yet, “we’re excited to have one so early in the year,” said Abdi.

 But s.t.a.r.t.’s influence is not only within South. On October 8th, s.t.a.r.t. leaders Amirah Ellison and Frankie Reyes, South seniors, traveled to Grand Marais to work with the Cook County school district. They presented workshops on racial and cultural identity and dialogue, focusing on helping bridge the gaps between the American Indian and white communities.

Read Kate Towle’s write-up on the Grand Marais workshops: