High School Black Student Union Members Denounce Systemic Racism In Protest

Jun 12, 2020

Allderdice High School Black Student Union members and alumni described the lives of Breonna Taylor, Antwon Rose Jr., Philando Castile, George Floyd and others killed by police officers Thursday. They spoke about Ahmaud Arbery and other black people killed by white private citizens. They paused after each story and told the large crowd gathered on the school’s lawn to, “say my name.”

Speaking into a microphone Dakota Castro-Jarrett, a junior and member of the BSU, detailed the history of policing in America.

“The problem in policing isn’t just tied to whether the police have enough body cameras or get enough diversity training, but are fundamental flaws of the nature of policing in America,” he said.

Damarion Brundage, a 2020 graduate of Allderdice High School, joined the sit-in Thursday. He went to the school to pick up his cap and gown and then joined the demonstration.
Credit Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Allderdice School Counselor Anthony Hall told the crowd that as a black man and father to black sons he worries daily for their safety.

“I just really hope that one day we can all get to a place where we aren’t having these [events] in light of someone’s death, but that we’re actually having these in proactive states.” he said. “That we’re actually having these because we’ve recognized some injustices, we’ve recognized some things within our own homes, our own communities and we aren’t allowing them to happen anymore. We’re not allowing this to become a norm.”

Hall said students are holding the school leaders accountable for systemic change.

“We won’t just sit back and allow students to get passed on,” he said. “We won’t just sit back and allow systemic racism to happen.”

State Representative Summer Lee said while people might feel uncomfortable hearing calls to “defund the police,” she said “schools have been defunded for years.”

“Imagine a world where instead of funding oppression, we’re funding hope and opportunity,” she said. “Would we need jails if our schools were serving every kid the way that they deserve to be served?”