Forum Challenges North Texas Student Leaders to Talk About Racism - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Forum Challenges North Texas Student Leaders to Talk About Racism

Highland Park ISD has hosted the Race to End Racism forum the last four years

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    Forum Challenges N. TX Student Leaders to Talk About Racism

    More than 300 students from 30 schools across Dallas-Fort Worth attended the Race to End Racism forum to discuss subjects that are normally kept quiet: race and racism. (Published Monday, Feb. 4, 2019)

    What to Know

    • More than 300 students from 30 high schools across North Texas attended the Race to End Racism forum hosted by Highland Park ISD Monday.

    • Event organizers said the forum is a way to empower the students' generation to talk about a topic that isn't usually discussed.

    • Attendees said that while the conversations could be uncomfortable at times, they felt they were worthwhile.

    "How many of you have been made fun of for your physical appearance... for your race," asked the speaker on stage at the Race to End Racism forum in Dallas Monday morning.

    With each question, student leaders from across North Texas stood to answer "Yes," or stayed seated to indicate "No."

    More than 300 students from 30 schools across Dallas-Fort Worth attended the forum to discuss what is usually kept silent: race and racism.

    "Why do you think it's such an uncomfortable topic in the first place," Highland Park High School student Sam Sloan asked those sitting at his table.

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    "I think you've got to be open-minded," said Zakyriah Parker, a student at V.R. Eaton High School. "There are still certain groups out there that aren't going to like you because of your skin tone," another student said.

    Highland Park ISD has hosted the forum for the last four years. While the event has grown in scale, the subject has remained the same. Organizers said it's a way to empower the students' generation to talk about a topic that isn't usually discussed, but still felt.

    "Because the color of their skin, it's like unique, it's something that should be celebrated," Sloan said. His tablemate, A'Shantia Parker from V.R. Eaton High School, responded, "I feel like we shouldn't exactly be celebrated either. We want to be treated the same as everyone else."

    "Communities that are majority black and majority black skin, they don't have as many opportunities as kids that would probably go to Highland Park," said Kofi Forson, a student at Little Elm High School.

    "Kind of sucks when you walk into a classroom and you've got a corner of the class black, and the rest is white," said J.P. Abreu from Byron Nelson High School.

    Students said though the conversations could sometimes be uncomfortable, it's also necessary.

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    "One of the things we have to do is open people's eyes to something better, because if you're stuck looking at a wall the whole time, you might miss the window behind you," Forson said. "So we have to be the people that turn them around. There's a window!"

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