SUWANEE — Speakers gave voice to their powerful positions on how to make the general school environment a unifying place for students of all races and ethnicities during the Gwinnett Citizens for Equity and Justice in Education assembly held on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at Suwanee Town Center Park.

A growing problem in society today since the start of movements such as Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+, students who are affected personally by these movements often face issues in schools such as racism, discrimination, and cultural appropriation. Those in attendance at the event listened to exactly how these students were discriminated against in schools in the past and how they hope to bring a change to their teaching and disciplining strategies. 

Former teacher Rhonda Williams shared her views on this event. “I realized that this (event) was for Gwinnett Teachers for Diversity and I definitely wanted to bring the kids and sit and listen. One of the things they’ve mentioned is changing the way we teach our kids about history. Our children are not educated on our African ancestry and it’s important that people know that we were not always slaves and we came from well-established communities before slavery began,” she said.

There were few speakers but that didn’t stop the message from spreading to those who were there to listen. “I came to learn and to find people of like-mind that I can establish a community with. I feel like we come to things like this to feel a sense of encouragement and that we are not alone. We have to work and fight for the things that are important and for what’s right.” Ted Forringer stated when asked why he came to the event. 

The event was attended by civilians, as well as, current teachers and administrators in the Gwinnett County Public School system (GCPS). Many expressed their desire to be able to change the way students are treated by staff and their peers in the near future. That before they are a student, they are a human being. 

It is easy to pinpoint what is wrong but it often takes a bigger effort to try and right those wrongs. With events like Gwinnett Citizens for Equity and Justice in Education, many positive changes in the education system are sure to be implemented and alter the lives of students for the better for years to come. 

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Anoshka Ramkumar is a student at North Gwinnett High School, Class of 2021. She is a published author and hopes to pursue a career in Media Journalism.

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