Young people respond to racism in America 

Arlington, Va. — In the wake of George Floyd’s death and worldwide demonstrations, teens across the U.S. responded to racial injustice with fear, hope, and resolve to make lasting change.

The PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL) issued a call for responses from students across the country on policing in the U.S. and their personal experiences with racial injustice. 

The NewsHour published a selection of these youth responses on its digital platforms, including Anyiah Chambers from Wauwatosa West High School near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

“I have four younger brothers at home. And I have to explain to them each and every day about being a black man in America,” Anyiah recounted.

Dozens of other teens weighed in, from London to Los Angeles.

Powerful stories from Black teens shed light on injustices linked to systemic racism in institutions. “They grabbed me by the throat,” recounts Justin Sybron, a high school student from Conroe, Texas, as he recalled a violent confrontation with bullies when he was in elementary school. 

During her peaceful demonstration showing support for George Floyd, Kailynn Pratt of Detroit, Michigan shared her interaction with a police officer. She asked him to join her cause and march alongside her. “No,” he said. 

Teen voices were also featured on the PBS NewsHour’s special,“Race Matters: America In Crisis,” that aired Friday, June 6, 2020 

“It starts with our school system,” shared Johnna Bailey of Nebraska. 

Corie McCowin, 2020 SRL Gwen Ifill Legacy Fellow shared that her “hope for the future is that the injustices that continue to happen over and over again, that they can be learned from and used as a lesson in order to create change.” 

Catch the full version of the special here.

For SRL’s statement on recent events, please visit this link.