January 26, 2021
To the Franklin Community:
Three weeks ago, an act of domestic terrorism shocked and saddened the American people and left many shaken by the explicit displays of racial, ethnic, and religious hatred. In the days following this attack, members of the Diversity Awareness Club at Franklin High School met to discuss their feelings and to unite in one voice against the dangers posed by white nationalist groups and their enablers. This letter represents that united voice.
It is impossible to entirely separate this event from current political divisions; however, the Diversity Awareness Club believes that a stand against hatred is fundamental and not political - it is American and not Republican or Democratic. We are convinced that the majority of Donald J. Trump’s political supporters reject these acts as well. Nonetheless, we believe it is important for all Americans to reflect deeply on the unique pain experienced by people of diverse racial and religious backgrounds. More than just an attack on democracy, this insurrection made plain the ongoing threat that extremist groups pose to racial and religious equality in the United States.
Below are the unedited voices of the Diversity Awareness Club members. We ask that you take the time to consider their perspectives. They are your classmates, your students, your neighbors, and your fellow Americans.
…”The terrorisms shown at the Capitol resurfaced many of the feelings I’d know when I was younger. The same fear, disgust, and sadness for our country was back. Not only had people committed acts of hate, but they had gotten away with it in a way that people of color wouldn’t have been able too.”- Mia Story
...“In school we barely learn about the history of slavery and the roots of racism. This affects our everyday lives because if we were educated on topics like this, then it would make people more comfortable using their voice, instead of just agreeing with whatever Trump has to say. This man is abusing his power and getting all his followers to do what he says. He encouraged what happened at Capitol Hill and people still think this is okay. This was an act of terrorism, this was not a protest. But when people do peaceful protests to try and save lives they get shot with rubber bullets and burned with tear gas. It is a pure image of racism in America.” - Shay Kilroy
... “The riot at the Capitol should not come as a surprise to anyone. Trump has been abusing his power for 4 years, encouraging hateful extremist groups to behave with malice and violence. Trump told the groups that stormed the Capitol that he loved them. That’s messed up.” - Ji-Yann Chin
... “The people who stormed the Capitol are filled with hate, and it should not be tolerated. I am scared for what could happen in the future; I should be able to do my schoolwork instead of having to be worried about myself, or someone I love getting hate crimed, but sadly this is what it is like being a teenager in America.” -Darby Nicholson
... “One of the most appalling things seen at the capitol in my opinion was that a confederate flag entered that building. This is the first time since the civil war that a confederate flag has ever got into that building. People fought and died so that flag would never be on Capitol Hill, now not even a week goes by in 2021 and that hateful flag entered the building.”- Julia Atwood
... “Allowing such aggressive, unnecessary “protest” with not nearly as much resistance from law enforcement as Black Lives Matter was met with made me angry, and upset, and many other overwhelming emotions that I did not know what to do with.”- Sofia Chouinard
... “Although one of my teachers did bring it up and we did discuss a bit about how insane and stupid the riot was, all the other teachers stayed quiet. I feel that more teachers should have brought it up because of the amount of pain it caused to others. The racism, anti-semitism, these are real problems and not talking about them will not just make them magically disappear.”
... While there is so much wrong with the riots, and so much to say about them, the anti-semitism is what affects me most personally. Knowing that so many people across the country believe in and act violently on the behalf of anti-semitic rhetoric has always been upsetting and scary. But actually seeing people storm our nation's Capitol building and outwardly expressing that they want me, my family, and people of my ethnicity dead, was literally horrifying. And seeing the sitting president condone those actions was even scarier.
“The riot that took place in the Capitol was a disgrace to the democracy that America stands for. The Pro-Trump rioters believe in making America great again, supposedly support the blue lives matter movement but their actions clearly proved that they are not capable of following the laws which go against the American constitution and they also harmed many capitol police officers”. -Amulya Chirravuri
“So the most important thing we have to do now is face these problems. We have to fight for the liberty and equality that our country is supposed to stand for. We have to choose to move forward, as a town, as a state, and as a country. The riots last Wednesday only showed a small portion of what is to come, and the potential dangers it can provide to our country if untouched. We must do better.”
The Diversity Awareness Club remains committed to working with the superintendent and members of the school administration in order to help stop the spread of racism and discrimination and to create a safer environment for minorities entering Franklin Public Schools.
Parents, teachers, and students, we ask for your support in making this community a better and safer environment for all students and families.
Diversity Awareness Club Members of Franklin High School
Shared from Twitter: https://twitter.com/DiversityFHS/status/1354560761264279553
PDF version of the text: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PoWXZIh51bVYXaSnZApTVQzS-88IQaaS/view?usp=sharing