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Students rally against use of the n-word, lack of action from the administration

Senior Lela Davis speaks on the lack of action by the administration during the Blackout rally a-block Friday, Feb. 14 in the cafeteria

Students rallied a-block Friday, Feb. 4 in the cafeteria before continuing their protest throughout the day on Main Street after multiple incidents in which white students used the n-word. 

Student speakers at the rally presented stories, speeches, and poems. After the rally, about 50 students wearing all-black staged a sit-in on Main Street for the remainder of the day. Each student at the sit-in was able to speak about their experience with racial discrimination and identity. During e-block, Jubilee performed on Main Street alongside the protestors.

“I chose to protest because, even though I’m not black, I’m still a person of color, and I can imagine the pain that black students at North are going through,” said sophomore Ana-Karina Adrianza. “Even though I have not been the target of the n-word before, I still have had to deal with microaggressions. You think, ‘Wow, I really don’t fit in here.’”

Student speakers included seniors Jeeval Blumsack, Leyla Davis, Nathan Dorval, and Laila Lucas, and juniors Arsema Kifle, Bailey MacNeal, and Chika Udemagwuna. 

“I’m just glad that people heard what I was trying to say and that my point came across,” said Udemagwuna. “It started off as, ‘let me start off when I first came into Newton Public Schools,’ then my first experience with race in Newton Public Schools, and then fast forward to the present. So I think that format, I don’t know how I came about it, but it really was effective.”

The Black Leadership Advisory Council (BLAC) organized the protest, called the Blackout rally, after speaking with principal Henry Turner at a meeting last Monday, Feb. 3. Davis said that the rally is mainly aimed to encourage the administration to take action. Some students called for the students who said the n-word to be punished harsher and for guidance counselors to contact students of color about the incident.

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