Hi South students!
We are Stand Up Speak Out South High (SUSOSH), a student-led group that aims to start systemic discussions of race at South. On Monday, May 23rd, we are hosting Racial Justice Day. In this newsletter, we hope to address any immediate questions or concerns that students may have.
What is Racial Justice Day?
RJD is a day of community building and learning. It will consist of
workshops lead by community leaders, artists, and student groups
covering many topics surrounding race, including colorism,
environmental racism, social media, and more. It is a time for students,
regardless of how often they talk about race, to better understand each
other and to strengthen unity at South. Not only that, RJD will be fun!
It will be a time to get to know each other, listen to music, and talk
about issues that are dear to us.
Why do we need Racial Justice Day?
Racial Justice Day is a response to South students’ dissatisfaction with
the system that allows injustice to continue in our school and
community. South students have shown through walkouts, sit-ins, and
vigils that they are passionate about and dedicated to issues of racial
injustice. However, these events are only accessible to students who
were able or willing to miss class. RJD will be equitable in that students
will not have to choose between education and activism - it will be a
day of both.
Further, race is a difficult but important topic to discuss. RJD will be a
safe place for all students to start these conversations, and to
encourage them to continue on their own.
What will Racial Justice Day look like?
In the mornings, students will report to their first hour class. In this
class, they will receive a colored wristband that determines their
schedule for the day. It is vital that students wear their wristbands the
whole day in order to understand where they should be and so the day
runs as smoothly as possible. Then, students will attend four 60-minute
workshops, followed by a debrief session in their seventh hour class.
The day will feature two 1-hour long lunch periods with recess!!
What exactly are these workshops?
RJD’s workshops will take many different forms. Some will be
discussion-based, some will feature visual art, some will feature spoken
word, etc. There will be topics that fit a wide range of interests and
level of comfort with the topic of race. They are split up into four
categories: justice, identity, art, and culture. Every student will be able
to attend one workshop in each category, chosen in your introductory
session. The presenters include artists, organizers, and students from
all around Minneapolis. We are very lucky to have so many incredible
people coming to our school to share their ideas and experiences with
What if I’m a senior?
We expect seniors to attend and fully participate in RJD even as they
prepare to leave South, as it will create understanding and begin
conversations that will benefit everyone as they move into new
communities. Seniors in danger of not graduating will be able to
complete work during RJD in the Media Center and Math Center.
I am a PSEO student/I don’t have a first or seventh hour. What
do I do?
PSEO students and students with release periods are expected to arrive
at South at 8:20am and leave at 3:10pm. Students without a first hour
will report to the auditorium for their introductory session. Students
without a seventh hour will also report to the auditorium for their
debrief session. For PSEO students who still have class during the day,
there will be SUSOSH members positioned in the commons to help get
Is Racial Justice Day mandatory?
Racial Justice Day is not an “optional” day of school. However, families
have the option to opt their student out, requiring parent/guardian
consent. We strongly discourage this, as we believe that every person
at South will benefit from this event. Parents/guardians may call or send
an email to opt their student out. Students who have opted out by
Monday morning before school begins will attend an all-day study hall.
I still have questions. Who can I ask?
There are several ways to contact SUSOSH with questions about RJD.
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org,
• Attend a SUSOSH meeting after school in the media center on May
19th and 20th
• Tweet questions @standupshs.
You may also contact Ndolo Elate, Betty Mfalingundi, Noura Abukhadra,
Salma Ahmed and Mara Morgan at school.
We are very excited for Racial Justice Day, and we hope
you are too!