North Texas Students Tackle Racism

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DALLAS (CBS11) – On Wednesday morning, a banquet room on the SMU campus became the work lab for this year’s leadership topic for the DFW Student Leadership Forum: Race to End Racism.

The Forum is comprised of student representatives from 21 North Texas schools. The students hold a yearly session to address matters that affect and impact their campuses and communities.

“I think the issue of race spans across my school, and all our schools,” said Allie Alford, 17, of Saginaw High during a set of roundtable conversations.

The students listed examples they defined as racist or discriminatory acts they’d experienced. One student cited statements made by then Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Another pointed to Black Lives Matter protest marches, including the shooting of five police officers in Dallas last July.

But most students talked about their experiences in their schools, homes and neighborhoods.

“You say you’re not racist, but you say racist things, which show you are racist,” one Cedar Hill High School student stated.

“We have issues of racism, not just African-American and Caucasian, but in religion and politics bias, too,” Maddie Basso explained. Basso is Student Body President of Highland Park High School. Basso and others led “solution” sessions, asking students to offer ways to combat racist attitudes and actions in their schools and homes.

Most suggestions centered on efforts to join groups, meet people from various cultural, religious and racial cliques.

“We don’t have to do what our parents do,” one Highland Park senior said.

Saginaw High student Sierra Turner listened to stories of teenagers dividing themselves based on status or ethnicity, and answered one of the questions posed: Can you cure racism?

“We need to get along together. We don’t want to repeat history,” she said.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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