Different Shades of Equality

Kimberly Velasquez, Reporter

Students, teachers and parents were given the chance to write about personal experiences about discrimination, as part of “Different Shades of Equality,” a Venice storytelling contest celebrating Black History month. However no one participated in the contest. Awards were being offered to the winners.

Ms. Sharon Davis and students from both Leadership and the Black Student Union (BSU) club spearheaded the contest to celebrate the diversity in the school. Students were invited to write stories about their own experiences and be open about inequality.

Submissions could be written anonymously and were supposed to be submitted to Ms. Davis by Feb. 28. Teachers and students from the school did take a survey that was used to see how many people believed discrimination was a problem in the school and around the community.

Questions that were asked in the survey were mostly based on how people felt about discrimination. About 45% of the people (students and teachers) who took the survey said that they sometimes may have suffered discrimination and 38% said that they definitely have.

The contest was announced during second period to make everyone aware of the contest. A phone call was also made to let parents know about the competition. The teachers were also given a flyer to inform their students. Ms. Davis believed that the stories could have been used to inspire others with related experiences.

Students from Ms. Davis’ fifth period used social media to let their friends know about the competition and take the survey.
Ms. Davis said that if students had expressed interest in this competition, the deadline could have been extended.
“Truth be told, it felt kind of disappointing… I think for those who did know about the contest, might have felt embarrassed to tell their stories. It’s a hard thing to get on stage and talk about how you’ve been degraded and put down,” said sophomore Orlance Shirley who helped organize the competition.

The competition supported Assistant Principal Mr. Rene Maza’s goal to improve student character through promotion of the “The Six Pillars of Character.” The Six Pillars of Character are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship and are being promoted to help the school become a better place.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the contest should contact Ms. Davis in Room 123.