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Local high-school graduates battle second pandemic: Race in America

MIAMI, Fla. – Generation Z has plenty to talk about as they continue to press for racial and social justice and about the change that they want to see. They say they will continue to work to push their message forward,

On the the day commemorating Juneteenth, I was interested in hearing from students, especially seniors graduated amid COVID-19, and now, students of color, finding themselves battling a second pandemic: Race in America.

“I think now, more than ever, it’s important that we are open to one another,” Heavyn Lee, a recent high school graduate, said.

Lee and another graduate, Kamryn Walker, are looking forward to college in the fall. But they have other things on their minds, too.

"We may buckle, but we do not ever give up, because this is the beginning of the end," Walker said.

Their generation are the next up as influencers of change.

"Generation Z is all about getting the change as fast as possible and we want to see systemic racism end and are very loud about it," Lee said.

This week, school board member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, sponsored a policy to develop a curriculum addressing just that— racism and cultural understanding.

Activist Dwight Bullard said: “There needs to be a student-led task force because we haven’t talked about the micro-aggression that some students in the classroom may be experiencing.”

Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery, is perhaps now serving as a backdrop to race relations playing out across the country.

As we move forward, what’s the next move for both pandemics?

Lee advised to keep an open mind and an open heart.

“Keep educating yourself about not only police brutality but also coronavirus. Stay safe and keep going,” she said.


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