LYNWOOD—Emotional and heartfelt responses to the recent events of injustice poured out of Lynwood Unified students during a student forum on June 1.
“It hurts me to see that police are using their badges for power against Black people and not being charged when they abuse and hurt unarmed people.”—Jahir Hardiman-Moore, Lynwood Middle School eighth-grader.
“I feel scared; how are we supposed to put our trust in those who were meant to protect and serve their community, yet willingly shoot peaceful protesters.”—Claudia Parra, Lynwood High School junior.
“I'm tired. I'm tired of being angry and outraged about things that we want so badly to change. I'm tired of hearing about a new incident of another person losing their life for nothing. That could be me, my brother, my dad.”—Kyra Obaid, Firebaugh High School senior.
The District organized the virtual forum to give students the opportunity to discuss their feelings and suggest a plan of action for combatting racial injustice. The group of nearly 70 participants included the board president, superintendent, principals, and members of the District’s Equity, Access, and Instructional Services.
“It was important to let our students know that they have a voice and a support system in these challenging times,” LUSD Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite. “We share in the grief and trauma felt by them and people all around the country regarding the killing of unarmed African Americans. Our District stands united against racism and oppression.”
The student group was a mix of Young Black Achievers Student Union members, as well as ASB and other leaders. After the group shared their thoughts, many pledged their support to one another and offered ideas for change and unity including writing letters to local government, creating mobile murals, and lawn signs.
“We have to advocate for change by encouraging our youth to educate themselves and to speak up,” Lynwood High School senior Andrea Alvarez said. “I believe it’s important to learn to be an ally to our Black community members and for them to know that we stand with them.”
The District is working to use recent events as learning experiences and additions to curriculum while championing productive action such as voting, completing the census, and peaceful protests. School sites across the District will also engage in open discussions on racial justice. In addition, students and community members have access to a student support hotline that provides social and emotional support.
The Equity, Access, and Instructional Services Department also introduced a SAFETY acronym for constructive ways students can let their voices be heard.
S- Safety first—remain safe and out of dangerous protest areas.
A- Allow expressions of feelings to be shared.
F- Follow positive leads (parents, teachers, admin).
E- Encourage positive student interactions with fellow students.
T- Tell your truth to community leaders through constructive means—letter
writing, artistic expression, and other creative means. Y- Your community needs your leadership.
“I’m proud of our students and community members for standing united against the injustices of African Americans and people of color and leading the conversation,” Board President Gary Hardie Jr. said. “Now, more than ever, we must come together in the face of inequity and let our voices unite in opposition.”