On Jan. 17, I attended an excellent presentation in the Julian Middle School auditorium co-sponsored by SAY (Success of All Youth) and Wednesday Journal. It was the second in a series of Community Conversations designed to continue discussion concerning equity and the need of our villages to address this more effectively.
The panel comprised students at OPRF High School who are involved in various school organizations addressing this. They spoke of why this work is urgent and what they have been doing to create necessary changes. Clearly, support from the administration, faculty and school board is essential. The students also spoke, however, of important ways they need to be supported by the community at large.
I left very heartened by the focus and determination of these students. I also left very disheartened by the extremely small number of those in attendance. When I went to the community forum in the high school cafeteria following the racist and anti-semitic graffiti incident, there was a very large turnout.
The Community Conversation I experienced last Thursday was addressing these very same issues, yet very few people were there. The graffiti brought the presence of racism into view for those who don't experience it directly. There was an immediate response from, not only the high school, but the larger community. We must not lose that momentum.
The graffiti exposed aspects of our community that some of our children experience on a daily basis. We must continually be addressing this, not only after there have been powerful incidents that reflect the inequities that exist here. Certainly there are many in our community and schools who are doing this. There needs, however, to be many more of us involved.
The Community Conversation Thursday night was an important opportunity to learn more fully what is happening and what is needed, especially for those, like myself, who are white and no longer have children in school. It is essential that we take advantage of the passion and expertise of the students who spoke. The deeper awareness we are experiencing regarding the need for a more equitable community is very challenging, but also very exciting. We have needed these changes for such a long time.
The website sayoprf.org is an excellent resource for those who want to take advantage of this energy and become more engaged.
Answer Book 2018
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2018 Answer Book, please click here.
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