Progress Wootton has made building allies

Black+at+Wootton+Instagram+showcases+students%27+experiences+with+race+and+equality+anonymously.

Screenshot by Julia Lvovsky

Black at Wootton Instagram showcases students’ experiences with race and equality anonymously.

Black History month is a good time to reflect back on our school’s progress to support Black students and teachers in our community.

Black Student Union member and senior Jayla Johnson said the school has taken steps in the right direction to support Black students and have their voices heard. At the beginning of the year, Black Student Union and SGA held a town hall to discuss current events and equality in society. Students and faculty came together to talk about issues Black people face, specifically microaggressions and other significant issues like racial profiling and police brutality.

This town hall was a way Black students could talk freely without the fear of being scrutinized about their experiences and feelings toward these issues. “I believe it was a big step for Wootton because we were provided a safe space to speak, with open ears from both staff and other students as well,” Johnson said.

The town hall had a good turn out not just with students, but with staff as well. There were around 120 students and staff present. The staff members who showed up made the BSU students felt like they cared and wanted to be a part of the overall solution to bring equality to the school.

… there were also many different students from various backgrounds there to both be an ally to us and show their support while also gaining some knowledge on our everyday lives whether it be in school or in the outside world.”

— Jayla Johnson

“Along with staff, there were also many different students from various backgrounds there to both be an ally to us and show their support while also gaining some knowledge on our everyday lives whether it be in school or in the outside world. Also, it definitely made me proud to see the unity amongst our school at that moment. I was not expecting to see that many people,” Johnson said.

Due to the media and recent events, Black people have been constantly reminded of the negative people and energy they are surrounded by. Having this town hall allowed them to see that they have positive people on their side who care to see them flourish. Johnson describes this town hall as a “turning point for Wootton.”

Besides this town hall, an anonymous person made an Instagram account to let people have a voice about race and equality incidents. The Instagram is @BlackatWootton. Studentsschool say accounts like @BlackatWootton are amazing.

This account is a safe place for Black students to share their experiences without feeling attacked because the posts are anonymous. These accounts also serve as an eyeopener; by having this account, other students will be able to see that these things don’t just happen in the outside world as students might see in the news, they happen even at our school.

“I feel like students before were attacked and judged for speaking up about the problems they face. I mean just look at the Frost situation (The n-word song on the bus). The person who spoke up was almost bullied for simply exposing the comfortable nature that is being associated with racists events. To see that happen and then now see that we have open and honest spaces to talk signifies a huge change in our communities for the better,” Johnson said.

When students see these negative issues concerning Black people on the news and social media, they become disconnected and think that it would never happen at our school but, when students see the account, @BlackatWootton, it opens their eyes to realize it is more common than they might think and change needs to happen.