In our final issue of last year, following the nationwide call for a drastic change in the policing system in the U.S and society as a whole, our editors asked you to educate yourselves beyond what you’ve learned in the classroom on the history of “police brutality, riots, weaponizing whiteness, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the history of the American law enforcement.”
After the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — only two of so many innocent people who have died at the hands of the police — there has been an increasing strength in the Black Lives Matter movement, especially through social media. Across the country, millions of people have protested for justice and taken to various social media platforms to share petitions and resources to support the Black Lives Matter movement. People are demanding justice and are using social media not only to share resources for the Black Lives Matter movement, but also as a platform to share stories and experiences — especially in schools — where students, faculty members, teachers, and parents have experienced or witnessed racism. Students from all over the country have shared personal experiences of how they have felt ostracized, targeted, and unfairly treated while in class, hallways, parties, and as members of their school communities.
This same racism occurs in our Parker community.
An unnamed group of Parker students have created an Instagram account, @fwpanonymous, that is dedicated to sharing stories of discrimination, including, but not limited to, examples of racism, sexism, classism, harassment, homophobia, and xenophobia. This account has been part of an effort to expose problems within Parker and to demand change for deeply rooted issues. Not all of the experiences shared on the account are recent or new, many are experiences of students from months, years, or even decades ago, and the account has given students a platform to share these stories.
This account is evidence that our community is broken.
What is the most distressing is that these stories that students have sent to the account have one common thread: a lack of calling out this sordid behavior when it arises. Post after post, the number of bystanders to each of these incidents kept increasing. Students at Parker cannot claim themselves to be anti-racist and not a part of the problem if they choose to stay silent when their peers behave in a way that is antithetical to what the school preaches.
The only phrase that Parker students hear more than ‘an embryonic democracy’ is ‘this shall be a place of welcome for all.’ If your ‘all’ does not include those who experience instances of discrimination within the Parker community as a whole, then you are not the type of person who Colonel Francis Parker wanted coming into this school. If you ever stood on the sidelines as one of your peers experienced discrimination of any kind, be sick with your silence.
These stories are not exclusively recent, and we cannot act like this is a movement that comes and goes. The abuse, discrimination, racism, and sexism, has been happening at Parker for years. But it’s only now that they have been publicly shared with everyone.
We cannot just move on. Posting in support and then continuing with our daily lives as if what’s in the past is in the past is not the way to go. Don’t let this summer of change come to an abrupt stop once we are back in school because it’s no longer fashionable or relevant to talk about it.
Keep these stories in mind when you get reacclimated with the Parker community after what seems like such a long time away from it. Continue to share the stories and show your support to their victims. In short, what we mean to say is this: this has been happening at Parker for a while, so do not be outspoken about it for a few months and forget all about them. Continue to speak out!