10-Year-Old Journalist Tiana Sirmans on Racism: ‘It's Really Sad'

Tiana Sirmans is a celebrity correspondent and emerging journalist. The New Castle, Delaware, native recently turned 10 years old and is using her voice to mentor girls from multicultural backgrounds and to raise anti-bullying awareness. She has appeared on local and national television programs, including The Kelly Clarkson Show. She has completed internships with Arianna Huffington at Thrive Global and Mario Lopez at “Access Hollywood.” Tiana was the youngest reporter for TIME for Kids during the 2018-2019 school year. She recently launched her own web series, 'Lights, Screen, Action' to help highlight other youth following their dreams and breaking barriers. Her next goal is to start a culinary and/or talk show and podcast to further inspire kids to dream big and be successful in life.

This is the 13th part of a series where civil rights leaders, cultural influencers, advocates and critical thinkers explain race relations, societal change, community protest and the political awakening happening in the United States following the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black Americans. The group, including NAACP President Derrick Johnson and #OscarsSoWhite Creator April Reign, pose their thoughts on race relations during the summer of 2020 and how America may move forward less divided. Join the conversation on social media using #PassTheMic.

Tiana Sirmans, 10-Year-Old Celebrity Correspondent

Gen Z emerging journalist Tiana Sirmans explains what racism is and what parents can do to help teach their children about it. The Delaware pre-teen explains what’s happening in our country amid the summer 2020 protest movement and why she has a positive outlook on the future. Video by Sarah Glover and Jeremy Berg.

I am a part of Generation Z. I see many of the things we are doing – how we are using our voices and platforms to speak up and request changes. We are not allowing people to tell us how to feel.

Tiana Sirmans

Q: How would you describe the civic unrest occurring in America right now?

A: It’s incredibly sad and scary. Being a kid inside this world now and having to worry about if we will get a chance to grow up and be an adult is really unfair. It also can be traumatizing for younger kids and even kids in general. But at the same time, it makes me feel proud knowing there are people who fight for what’s right.

Q: Is this a fleeting moment or have we reached an inflection point where lasting change is possible?

A: I think the world is at a point where we can only move forward and make things right for all people. Lasting change is possible, and it has to happen. It might take some time though, honestly, but I have faith that things will get better starting with my generation! I think changes are already happening, but we have to keep fighting and standing up for the changes we want to see in this world. 

Q: Is there another moment in history that relates to the moment we are living through now?

A: Yes. As a correspondent, I have had to learn about a lot of things that have happened in history where people had to fight for human and civil rights. There are so many moments in history that seem to be happening all over again, they just look a little different. I have seen where Black families have been asked to leave pools for no reason or just questioned for no reason. It’s really sad that after all this time, we are still dealing with racism in America. 

A civil rights activist, attorney and writer explain race relations, societal change and the political awakening happening in the United States following the tragic death of George Floyd. When it comes to race, “systemic problems have plagued the nation for not only decades, but for centuries,” says Derrick Johnson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The summer of 2020 is proving to be a moment for multiracial coalitions to come together, according to Fatima Goss Graves, TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund co-founder and National Women’s Law Center president and chief executive officer. Bestselling author George Johnson explains the revolution is being televised.

Q: What specifically needs to happen for Black lives to matter in the United States?

A: We all need to take a stand with each other. People of color and all races need to take a stand in order for racism and police brutality to end. We need to help each other in crises. I think we also have to have leaders that are willing to help make the changes that need to happen. 

Q: What does social justice mean to you personally and why should others care?

A: Social justice is when everyone, no matter your race or background, has equal opportunities. People should care because it would not only give people the chance at a better life, but it would just make the world a better place overall. It’s like being on a team. If someone on your team is not able to be their best, it can make the whole team look bad. You just have to do what you can to help make that teammate better so everyone wins. It’s really just the right thing to do. 

Q: What solutions will heal racial divisions and disparities?

A: We can heal racial divisions and disparities but it takes everyone realizing it affects everyone. We just need to make an all-out stand. Former Congressman John Lewis once said, “It’s time to get in good trouble, necessary trouble” and he is right. That’s exactly what we need to do. But has to be more than just people of color that are willing to fight for everyone for change to really happen and last. 

Q: How do you feel about the future?

A: I see the world becoming a better place for everyone. I am a part of Generation Z. I see many of the things we are doing – how we are using our voices and platforms to speak up and request changes. We are not allowing people to tell us how to feel. We know how the world is and we will continue to work hard to make it better for everyone. I believe the future will get better for the generations to come!

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