First and Foremost

Graphic by Sydney Lewis

Graphic by Sydney Lewis

Fadumo Jama, Guest Writer

Dear EPHS Students and Staff,

      First and foremost, I want to say I’m devastated by the murder of George Floyd. Sadly, this injustice is one that brought attention because it was televised. I want you all to acknowledge that the oppression of black people in this country is often brushed under the rug because it is not recorded.

      George Floyd’s death was one white America couldn’t turn their heads from. It was a blatant showcase of what we have been fighting for centuries. As a black student, I have to speak up about the injustices I have faced in my school community. Eden Prairie High school with all its attempts of diversity and inclusion of students of color has failed. Honestly, I do not know where to begin.

      For the past 4 years, I have seen and endured racism within the walls of Eden Prairie High school. I learned that my voice didn’t matter, that even if I stood up to injustices I saw I wouldn’t be heard. I gave up on trying to fix an education system that was corrupt beyond me, one that displays students of colors all over their school, but never takes the time to listen to them. A school that works so hard to uphold their standing as a “Diverse Institution”. Diversity means nothing when you don’t value the voices of your students of color.

      EPHS is diverse by statistics but not in practice. And to all the white staff, you can say you don’t see color or that all of your students are treated the same, but with those words, you’re disregarding and downplaying our cries for equality. You see color, but with your privilege, you have the ability to look away and say you don’t see color. I am tired of trying to educate my white peers. Have you ever asked yourself why sports, theater, and other extracurricular activities are predominantly white? Have you ever asked yourself why honors and AP classes are filled with white students, and lack representation from students of color? These critical questions are ones you must ask yourselves.

      Students of color don’t feel apart of your school’s culture. I’ve seen so many of my peers outraged about the silence of their fellow students. I am so sorry to tell you but what makes you think they will speak up on injustices around the world when they can’t even speak up about them in their school. What will a listening circle of students of color and teachers do? Why aren’t white students obligated to learn and be educated on racism and inequality? You can listen to students of color all you want, but frankly, these conversations have to be made throughout the school, not just in a closed room with a limited amount of people.

      I urge you to educate yourselves, listen but not only listen take action. As I move on to the next chapter of my life I know I will face racism, offensive stereotypes, and injustices. This is something I can’t change, but I hope you all educate yourselves, learn that with education anything is possible. To my fellow class of 2020, I urge you as we go on to this next phase of our lives please fight for what is right. Go into the world not just to succeed but to make it a better place. I have hope that this generation can make a systematic change that is everlasting.


Fadumo Jama