A Dream Deferred

A 13 year old girl, Jada Williams, enters the Frederick Douglass essay contest. She writes an essay that is well thought out. Her essay makes connections between the past and present. It is written in the Douglass voice with present day verbiage. It not only points out the problems in education from her perspective, but it offers solutions to her peers.

For all of these reasons Jada Williams won the first “Spirit of Freedom” award presented by the Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York. For telling the truth Jada Williams was persecuted by several teachers in her school.

In the United States freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment. In the Rochester City School District those who would deny others their right to free speech are protected.

Nearly a month after having to leave her school due to the harassment of adults in the school building, Jada has not returned to school. Interim Superintendent Vargas said he is addressing the situation. Only one week after staging a personal protest against the mis-education of children a teacher was removed from her classroom. It seems that freedom of speech is under attack in Rochester, New York.

The Board of Education has been suspiciously quiet through all of this. In past years winners of the Frederick Douglass Oratory Contest were honored at the districts Black History Month Celebration. This years Black History Month Celebration held no honor for Jada Williams, the first student ever to win the “Spirit of Freedom” award.

“Williams feels expressing her opinion about the Frederick Douglass book has ruined her life.

The Rochester City School District has made a 13 year old young woman feel as though it is dangerous to express her opinion. This district has silenced the voice of an intelligent young Black child. The actions of the adults in the school and of our district leaders have proven Jada’s opinion to be founded in fact with one exception, the word “white” should be replaced with “racist”. Racism is not bound by skin color, it is loosed by hatred.

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