Systemic racism concerns addressed at Appleton forum

Five panel members discussed what it was like growing up in the Fox Valley
Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 10:17 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A group of young people led a conversation about systemic racism concerns in Appleton Tuesday evening.

Area churches hosted the forum at the Outer Edge, where five young Black people told personal stories about their own encounters with racism while growing up in the Fox Valley.

The first question focused on their time spent in a classroom.

“You know, being in a big class of 200+ people and you’re the only Black person there, it really makes you stick out a lot more,” said Joy Evans, one of the panel members.

Others say the subject matter, especially history, wasn’t always easy.

“The teacher talking about slavery or something like that and you know everybody looking to you to see you know, how you react to what’s going on in the class. it was very uncomfortable, but I found my way through it,” said Josiah Benjamin, another panel member.

Many of the question at Tuesday’s forum also centered on the recent death of George Floyd and the racial tension that has followed. The kids were asked what the country needs to do to heal and move forward.

“I saw a lady with a poster who said, it’s not a wake-up call, we’ve just been hitting the snooze button since 1619. So, that’s something that it really just got to me heavily,” said panel member Morgan Kampala.

“This generation is just very angry. Just very angry, especially the black men are very angry at the world and how they’re being treated, how people don’t care about them,” added panel member Divine Dupree.

However, many here are sensing a change in tone.

“I have a lot of hope for this generation. I feel like we’re starting to wake-up to the fact of not really caring about skin color no more. It’s not ht e50′s and 60′s. So hopefully we can grow from this and just be like, a part of history,” said Benjamin.

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