Despite some people’s insistence that we live in a “post-racial” society, racism is still very real. People of color deal with oppression in almost all settings—and sadly, many students even face it at school. Now, a group of high school students in the Bronx is taking action against discrimination. The New York Daily News reports that yesterday, March 11th, students at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx staged protests over the administration’s failure to address persistent racism on campus. In particular, the protesters—a group called Students of Color Matter—were unhappy with school officials’ response to a video in which students yelled “crack” and the n-word.
Students of Color Matter chronicled their demonstration on Instagram, writing that they emailed administrators about the protest at 6 a.m. and that administrators later notified parents. The group shared a list of demands with administrative officials, held sit-ins in the school, and held a lockout at the administration building. Students ended up spending the night at the school, and the protest has continued into today, March 12th.
One student, named Josh, told the Daily News that the video was just a symptom of a larger problem with racial inequality at Fieldston.
A press release on the Students of Color website notes that they have requested that officials release the disciplinary decision for students in the video and provide apology letters from the students. They have also asked that the school hire more faculty members of color, implement a mandatory Black Studies class, and institute diversity and racial bias training for parents. The students also shared a petition on their site, which anyone can sign to show support.
It’s beyond impressive to see these students take action to make their school a more inclusive place. We stand with their efforts—and with all those fighting for racial equality.