Continuing the conversation

North Forsyth junior Kameron Barr makes a point during part two of the stu-dent race rela-tions forum held at Parkland High School on Wednesday, May

Continuing the conversation
May 26
05:45 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson



For the second time this school year, students from area high schools came together last week to discuss the state of race relations in area schools at Parkland High School.

During the first forum held last September, the Human Relations Department gathered a diverse group of students from public and private schools in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County to discuss peer relationships, perceptions in classrooms, and stereotypes.

This time, students took the conversation to the next level.

Senior at Calvary Baptist Day School and moderator for the event Logan Short asked the students a number of tough questions that sparked conversations and intrigued the minds of the students. When asked about diversity, North Forsyth senior Diego Garcia said as Americans we should make sure all cultures are recognized. Garcia said, “Lack of diversity leads to lack of inclusion.

“Diversity allows students to connect more,” he continued. “That’s what I like most about North.”

The students also had the opportunity to voice their opinions on House Bill 2 (HB2), the controversial law that was passed in a one-day General Assembly session earlier this year. With the law, North Carolina became the first state to require public school and university students to use only those bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.

“It’s not a well-written bill at all,” Paisley Magnet School freshman Carine Miller said.

“It’s creating more hatred among people. That’s one of the main reasons why it should be repealed.”

While holding the mic, Miller, who defines herself as “pro everything for diversity,” said HB2 is not just about the LGBT community, but all discriminatory laws across the state.

West Forsyth senior Josh Ballin mentioned the restrictions the law places on local governments. HB2 restricts local governments from having discrimination ordinances that go further than state law.

“This bill can, and will, tear communities apart,” said Ballin. “That’s what we have to think about when discussing HB2.”

After answering a number pre-screened questions, members of the audience were given a chance to ask the students questions before the close of the event. Human Relations Director Wanda Allen-Abraha who helped organize the forum said she was excited to see the students open up and discuss what was on their minds.

“Students today are facing something that older generations can’t even imagine,” Allen-Abraha said.

“That’s why it is important that we have these conversations,” she said, “The students made a number of interesting points here today.”

Following the forum, students said what they enjoyed most about participating in the forum was interacting with students from other schools and learning how they deal with issues of race and diversity.

Early College of Forsyth junior Izabela Rika said similar forums should be held at each school in the district.

“This generation is very aware of our surroundings and ready to make a change,” she said. “Every school should be having this same conversation because every school has their own issues.”

“The only way to make a difference is to communicate. That’s what is most important.”

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