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Inspiring Change

It’s 2024, a new year full of new dreams and opportunities. What hopes does this new year bring for people of color in our school?
Kaylee Gadepalli

For many years, there have been news stories bearing the story of a small-town shooter, an innocent man being arrested, or someone saying “I can’t breathe.” Children have heard about all of these cruel moments in the world and after hearing about that, how can we ask them to go back to playing with their unicorns and dollies?

In recent years there have been a lot of stories involving hate crimes that have to do with people of color. We hear stories of people of color either being falsely accused of being dealt a punishment that didn’t fit the crime. Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” It is 2024, a new year, and a chance at a fresh start; but the most important question is, will we as a society learn from our history of injustice, or are we doomed to repeat it?

An important part of being the change you wish to see is speaking out, or speaking to somebody and asking them what change they would like to see.


Every day, Carl Taylor, the daytime janitor, goes around the school talking with students, asking them how they’re doing and genuinely caring about their answers. From his office, you can hear many sounds bouncing around: cafeteria staff preparing for the upcoming lunch hour and students talking and laughing as they happily wait for lunch. But at that moment, there was only one voice that could be heard.

“I want to see us stop killing each other and start loving each other,” Taylor said. “And that’s not just Black lives. All cultures, all races.”
Taylor explained that there are so many unfair situations in this world, and one of the worst feelings is living with the constant fear that you can’t always protect a loved one from facing harsh realities and biases. He spoke about his niece.

“I don’t want her to experience anything where she is fearing that she can’t go nowhere just because of her skin color,” Taylor said. “She’s not going to get the opportunities in life that other people get.”

In that moment, one could see a completely different side of the man who called everyone his “brother,” or his “sister,” or his “fam.” He wasn’t all smiles as he usually was, but at the same time, you could see a twinkle in his eyes. Right away, anyone could tell you that he was proud of his niece.


Dathan Austin, senior, reflected on how he perceives the violence happening in the world at the moment.

“People are dying, people that look like me are dying,” Austin said. He talked about wanting to be seen as the person he is, nothing more, and nothing less.

“You see me, you have to acknowledge the fact that I’m around and keep an eye out for me like trying to keep me safe because I would do the same for you every single day,” Austin said.

Another subject that often goes unmentioned or is toned down in conversations would be the “jokes” that peers make.

“I feel like jokes can go pretty far, and often there’s not really a stopping point,” Austin said. “If things were different, how would you feel if this joke was being made, or somebody was demeaning you?”

The new year is uncharted territory. We can take the time to bring attention to issues surrounding racism, not just in Michigan, but around the world.

“You gotta think more outside of Michigan,” Austin said. “Think outside of Michigan, think bigger picture.”


Senior Leah Eddins, a member of the BSU, added that education would play a key role in the changing of our world. Not only would education include teaching students things in the classroom, but also providing opportunities to hear about different experiences from various people.
Eddins talked about the need for more education regarding Black-on-Black crimes, school shootings and how to respond to these kinds of situations. According to Eddins, just offering more classes incorporating African American culture and having more people join the BSU would be beneficial for the school.

When it comes to what the BSU has been doing this February, there have been slides in the Forum bulletin showcasing influential people of color with facts, descriptions and photographs.

“I’m hoping that by having people see these things, especially freshman and sophomores, they’ll want to join,” Eddins said.

Keep in mind that this is a new year and there is still time for change, whether that’s changing someone’s mind, their bias or their perspective.
What we can do is take a step forward by acknowledging our mistakes and doing what it takes to learn from them.

Together, we have the power to shape the world into a place where our future generations can have a voice.

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About the Contributor
Allegra Blackwood
Allegra Blackwood, Journalist
Allegra Blackwood has wanted to be a writer ever since she can remember. Her dream is to give a voice to people who are scared to speak out or forced to be silent. Joining the Communicator was a dream come true for her and she hopes to do more journalistic work in the future!

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