St. Anthony students tackle tough topics with city leaders

A group of St. Anthony Village students is taking on tough topics with city leaders about social issues, race and more. This comes after the city was thrust into the spotlight for the past year due to the officer-involved shooting that killed Philando Castile.

Thursday night, dozens of Dare 2B Real students at St. Anthony Village High School led community members into discussion topics including Islamophobia, white privilege, the n-word, and DACA. 

“We don't want a conclusion, we want all the opinions to be out there on the table,” said D2BR co-captain Jasmine Kaur. 

The student led anti-racism group started having discussions about social issues and current events five years ago. After the Philando Castile case, community members were invited to join the conversation including the superintendent, police chief, fire department and school board members. 

“I think it's not enough to sit at home on a computer or look at a phone,” said school board member Dr. Cassandra Palmer. “You have to engage for real change.”

“Some of the depth of the conversation is unbelievable for adults - let alone high school students,” said Superintendent Bob Laney. “Their backgrounds and abilities and willingness to share it's phenomenal.”

“It's really empowering, it shows that they care,” said Abonai Yishak, D2BR co-captain. “We are not just some minority just yelling and screaming not being heard. They take the time to come here and talk with us and make sure our voices are being heard.”

For a community that has been through a lot, it's difficult to measure who's learning the most from the discussions. 

“With the conversations it really bridged that gap, we started trusting the police way more,” said Christabel Amman, D2BR co-captain. “You could see students of color talking freely with police and that's something I've never seen in my 16 years of living.”

Long-term students want an ethnic studies class added to the curriculum.  The superintendent says the adding the class has been discussed.