The march from Catonsville Elementary school to the high school symbolic of the journey of an African American student in the Baltimore County School system.
“I would speak out on random non black people saying the n word just walking past,” Briana Whitehurst said. “It’s hurtful and they don’t understand. “
Taylor Holmes talked about being stopped in the hallway and feeling micro aggression from staff.
“I myself have been stopped in the hallway and questioned about if I’m supposed to be in the hallway when the bright yellow hall pass is openly in my hand,” Holmes said. “Where as white students in the same hallway without pass in hand walk by without any issue.”
One by one students told their stories and shared what they want education to look like.
Deborah Tadesse just graduated and spoke to the crowd.
“This isn’t against advanced placement classes but for the easier accessibility to resources to get to those classes,” Tadesse said. “This isn’t against the education system but for fixing the curriculum so we can learn more than slavery and Martin Luther King Jr.”
The crowd filled with students, graduates and community members from different races and backgrounds.
“Today is not a time for white students to swoope in and save the day,” said Steven Hook. “Today is not a time for me to act like I know what it feels like to be a student of color. Today is a time for black voices to be amplified and a time to demand real change in our country but more specifically in our school.”
They set up a table to register anyone over the age of 16 to vote.
“I’ve asked many people to register to vote today. I feel like America has forgotten what it means to vote,” said Nusrat Tusi. “As someone who wasn’t born here and has the right to vote I understand the impact I have in my hand with just one gesture.”
They’re asking for all teachers to have bias training and more African American staff in the district.
They also want police taken out of schools and to dive deeper into African American history and culture in school.
“We also entrust that a lot of the adults here will take the time to email our school,” said Bethehem Alexander Wolde. “Demand these things because we have been emailing them. We have been talking to them and it’s like talking to a wall.”
Ending with 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence. Young people crying out for change and hoping they are heard.
A spokesperson for Baltimore County School says they will be holding a virtual forum on racism in America and Baltimore City Schools July 8.