Dear Friends and Colleagues,
On April 14th juniors of the Arroyo High School Future Leaders of Social Change Small Learning Community presented their virtual Town Hall inspired by their learning of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The theme of their Town Hall is “The America I Know.” The student moderating the Town Hall explained, “While we may all be Americans, we all live in different Americas.”
I hope you’ll take some time to watch this video of the Town Hall. I found, as I hope you will, too, that each of the segments brings attention to one or more aspects of the challenges that these beautiful youth face. To me, these challenges are like those being faced by people of all ages across the country, and which we see before us every day in the news, whether because of skin color, religion, gender, gender identity, age, or insecurity about our self-worth. For example, Town Hall participant Nia Naidu spoke on, “Being a Black Woman in America.” Since watching this piece, I continually reflect on Nia’s plaintive request, “I want to know what it feels like to not be different!”
I asked the students if we at TWAICB could present their stories as a way to compel deeper thinking about the issues they raise, as well as to provoke reflective discussion to consider how to better address these issues in our immediate communities. They approved this request and noted that they wanted to do this presentation as their way of speaking up, so as to implore others to care and take action.
The following are questions we have sent to the students and their teacher to consider for their own follow-up to the Town Hall, and which we will be discussing with the students directly. Consider these as possible discussion topics in your family, friend, classroom or other community circles as a way to reflect on our own ways of relating to others different from us, and how we can be part of shifting our narratives and those of others to embrace rather than fear differences, as well as to embrace our fragile human-ness.