By R Scheiderman and an OA student
On May 11th, Ocean Academy attended a Colloquium Conference sponsored by the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education (Cchange) at Brookdale Community College; which focused on facing racism.
Dr. Terrence Roberts was 15 years old when Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas was integrated. After sharing his experiences as a member of the Little Rock 9; students from all around the tri-state then participated in a variety of break out workshops focusing on modern race and gender identity issues.
One break out session entitled “First and Eyes” involved a firsthand experience of growing up in Richmond, VA during the civil rights era. The presentation exposed the social climate existing in the south at the time, and helped the students to understand the some of the feelings the speaker endured as a result. Several role play events opened the eyes of many of the students to their own feelings toward race and equality.
Another break out session attended by Ocean Academy was “LGBTQ Teen Issues”; where students participated in an active discussion about the issues that come with association in the LGBTQ world. One of the topics that was talked about was how can we as a society show the world that being LGBTQ in okay. People shouldn’t be dismissed and people shouldn’t be judged, because we are just that, people. Many questions were asked about how to talk to someone who is being rude to someone who identifies as LGBTQ; and the answer was to talk to them like they were your brother or sister, show them that you care, and they tend to back off.