All Eyes Open

Student Leadership is currently planning an initiative called See Color. Their goal is to address racism in Midland High and teach the white population at Midland High how to be an ally. Ads Coordinator Jacob W. May | Arts & Entertainment Editor Hannah Woehrle | Staff Writer Lauren Revord


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Seniors Zee Brown and LeVale Walker, co-heads of the initiative, practice the See Color presentation that will be given to every third hour class over the span of a week. Photo: Hannah Woehrle

 

 

Senior LeVale Walker is tired of hearing people say, “I don’t see color.” While most people say it because they think it proves that they are not racist, Walker believes that it creates an entirely different problem.
“To me, that is one of the worst things someone could say,” Walker said. “If you don’t see color, that means you don’t see a difference. That means we’re not getting anywhere.”
This inspired Walker to name the racial awareness campaign See Color. Walker, along with senior Zee Brown, are part of the team running this campaign through the leadership class as a response to the racist video that circulated through Midland High. Walker said that the campaign wants to focus on promoting diversity positively and teaching students how to be an ally.
“A good white ally is someone who knows when their opinion is necessary or when it’s not and when it’s time to listen,” Walker said. “People who let you know that they’re there for you all the time and actually are.”
Monique Albright, teacher of the leadership class, oversees this campaign, but said it is completely student-run. She said that it is a great campaign to make students aware that racism is an issue and agrees that it is important that Midland High students become educated on how to be an advocate for racial equality.
“How can we help to support those who are non-white in our existence? And how we can help promote a fair and equal opportunity for all, essentially,” Albright said.
See Color is currently planning on giving presentations to every third hour class in the coming weeks. Brown said these presentations will last about 15-20 minutes because they want to have real interactions with the classes. Brown said that in addition to the third hour presentations, they are going to have speakers come in and talk about diversity, which they are hoping to model after the Veterans’ Day presentations in the library.
Brown and Walker agree that because of these presentations and the need for education at Midland High, this campaign is different from past campaigns from the leadership class.
“It’s an important conversation,” Walker said. “One of the things we talked about is that we don’t want it to be a one-time conversation, we want it to keep going. We want this conversation to be eternal until the problem is gone.”
Albright said that she knows there have been problems at Midland High regarding racism, but that she hasn’t seen any discussion about it. However, with the most recent events, Albright said that it isn’t just teens that don’t know how to talk about it, but everyone.
“The fact that it makes people uncomfortable is the exact reason why we should talk about it,” Albright said. “For me personally, I hear the stories of my students and I see the struggles. I do not fully understand because I am white. I definitely understand and I recognize that I am a part of white privilege, but I cannot begin to understand the experiences that people of color have. We don’t talk about it, and we need to.”
Brown said that she wants to see people stepping out of their comfort zone and being vocal about what’s happening around them at Midland High. Walker also said it’s important that the campaign not only fights for minorities, but with them.
“I think that minorities have a lot to say and have a lot of creative ideas,” Walker said. “If you disregard those, that’s dangerous because in some cases we’ll stay where we are and in some cases we’ll go back and we won’t grow as a community and as a nation.”
Brown, Walker, and Albright said that See Color is a great opportunity for Midland High to learn. They want people to understand that racism is something that people of color face every single day.
“For these things to continue to happen and occur at Midland high and for us not to do anything about it, these are teachable moments,” Albright said. “The student body wants to learn more and they are receptive. They don’t want to be depicted as a racist school, we want everyone to feel comfortable and included.”