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Students, community leaders participate in panel for MPS's Black Lives Matter Week of Action

Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 23:23:58-05

MILWAUKEE — Zakirah Muhammed, Angelina Wychesit and Angel Harper are all seventh grade students at River Trail School on Milwaukee's northwest side.

Each of them spoke in a virtual panel for Milwaukee Public Schools' Black Lives Matter Week of Action.

"I just think Black Lives Matter and stuff with the Black community is really important," Harper said. "I just want to talk about it so people can hear what I think about it.

"I'm Native American, so I want to talk about our beliefs and the way we do things," Wychesit said.

The panel brought together people of color from multiple generations to talk about race, culture, activism and the future. Dozens tuned in.

"I want to hear the good and bad stuff so we know what we might experience when we're older," Harper said.

Some of the panelists shared what it was like to grow up in the segregated South.

"Having to come through hard times, to face hard times, and to grit...and to understand it doesn't stop with me pressing on, being eternally committed to helping my brothers and sisters," said Dr. Janie Hatton.

"I think learning about parts and pieces of my history has a really big impact on my life," Muhammed said. "So in the future I can think back to, oh, Mr. Thomas taught me about stuff like this."

"I always feel like if you don't know where you came from you don't know where you're going," said River Trail School teacher Gary Thomas and so I always preach about what the people in the 1950s and 1960s have gone through."

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