Inspired by last year’s #itooamHarvard campaign, African-American students at East this week used the hashtag #itooamEast to combat racism around the school.
The decision to launch the hashtag came after an anonymous Instagram account, claiming to be an East student, made a racist post that was against African-American and Hispanic students.
It also rides on the back of the recent viral video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a fraternity at University of Oklahoma singing a racist chant, and Ferguson and the resulting nationwide discussions on racism in the police force.
When East teacher David Muhammad heard about the Instagram post, he wanted to make it clear that racism will not be tolerated at East.
He spoke to The Union, a society of black students at East, set up by Muhammad, who all agreed they should do something about the issue.
“It’s not to target the white kids or anything like that, it’s just for you guys to be able to share some of the things that you’ve gone through,” Muhammad said.
They took pictures of themselves holding whiteboards that displayed various ignorant comments and micro-aggressions they have been victims of at East because of their race, tagging them “I too am East.”
Senior Kaycee Mayfield said her board was about the way things students have said have made her feel like a minority at East.
“People should really think before they speak because something innocent to them could be extremely hurtful to others,” Mayfield said.
The caption of each photo reads:
In the past few months, multiple events have triggered discussions about race issues in America. Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Oklahoma University’s SAE chapter, and anonymous accounts on Instagram, have all triggered the question, “Do Black Lives Matter?” Myself, and the African American students at Shawnee Mission East High School, decided to take a stand against our encountered injustices and lead the way in sparking a discussion in our academic community. Inspired by Harvard’s #itooamharvard movement, we decided to launch our own #itooameast project. Our goal is to educate and motivate students to work past racial ignorance and bigotry. We are “The Union” and we are leading the way. We are not the stereotype, we are not against you, we are relevant. WE TOO ARE EAST. #blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter #itooameast