In light of the foreseeable events that occurred on Friday, April 15, 2005, Black Student Union (B.S.U.) & Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A. de Samohi) have coordinated their efforts in order to ensure solidarity amongst the Samohi community.
Various community newspapers and school officials have portrayed us as “clowns” who “rumble and misbehave” creating an atmosphere that fosters fear and animosity amongst our peers; MEChA and BSU are appalled at the reinforcement of stereotypes. When the anarchy or chaos by a few start to represent the African American and Latino communities as a whole, our leadership and accomplishments are often overlooked.
There are ample reasons for our response: Because the lack of racial equality has been a reoccurring problem on Samohi’s campus, because this issue has been swept under the carpet due to the negligence and ignorance of those in positions of power, because we want to support the voice of teachers and administration that are ignored because we deserve the opportunity to be acknowledged as leaders, because we are tired of being bystanders, because we feel victimized by our own community. We have decided to take action and combat the hatred that is being generated in our educational system.
We acknowledge there are some people who may disagree with our position; however, not addressing the tension would be hypocritical. As student leaders, we are willing to assume responsibility for empowering our classmates. We do not expect anyone else to resolve our conflicts. BSU and MEChA collaborated to create a number of tangible solutions. To list a few:
• Peer mediation. To allow students to be leaders in the conflict resolution process.
• Inclusive curriculum (i.e. freshmen seminar). To address the various prejudices that exist in the Samohi community.
• Open dialogue with administration. To create a forum for adults and students who represent various groups on campus.
• Mentor program. To systemically provide support for the lower classmen by the upper classmen.
The plan does not end with us. Our next step is to dialogue with faculty, staff, and administration to gain the necessary support in order to execute our plan. A famous Chinese proverb reads, “One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.” For too many years at Samohi our seeds have been victims of an unyielding earth. We shall be the generation that provides the shade for those to come.
MEChA & BSU
Santa Monica High School
Ed. Note: This statement originally appeared in the April 26 issue of The Samohi.