On Sept. 29, Dorsey High School located in the Crenshaw District, was the very first LAUSD high school to hold a Black Lives Matter panel called “Black Lives, We Matter Here!” Students’ voices were finally able to be heard. This wasn’t a protest but rather a discussion about the many problems students face.
The event included a panel consisting of five African Americans of various ages, including a Los Angeles Black Lives Matter leader. There were also various teachers from the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) involved. Over 800 people attended the event. Students from different high schools, teachers, staff, parents, and residence in the community all participated in this event.
The event was planned for months by Student Deserve and the Black Lives Matter leader in order to make it as big as possible. The UTLA also contributed a great amount of support. Though there were a few setbacks and questions about where and when the event should happen, in the end it was a pretty amazing turnout.
The event started with a five-person panel. Each person spoke of their personal experiences in low-income schools and how that affected them and their peers. Some of the recollections hit close to home for a lot of people. The panel was followed by a conversation between the audience and panelists about what everyone has been through and what needs to change in schools.
The reason for the event was to shine light on the conditions that students of color face in low-income communities. Often times, when we talk about the problems that are faced by people of color, we ignore the problems that are faced in school. In school, you are supposed to learn the fundamentals needed to get through life. So if students of color are not receiving these fundamentals, then they are being set up for failure. This is something everyone should be aware of.
I got to interview one of the students who spoke at the panel, Sindel Donaldson, a senior at Dorsey High School. She spoke about the “lack” that many low-income schools have to deal with. She spoke at the panel about lack of teachers, lack of basic resources, and many other things.
She discussed at the panel: “I went on to talk about the things we definitely aren’t lacking: police officers and military recruiters. Seeing police officers and military recruiters every day can affect the way students see themselves. They may begin to see themselves as needing more discipline than education because if they’re seeing more police officers than college officers, it’s obvious that they’re expecting to go to jail or war, not college.”
It was a first but definitely not the last; they’re still yet to be made.