Youth are our future. Youth’s core process is exploring and experimenting and challenging the current norms. Youth can enliven and help a community evolve through their questions and contributions. Youth are brimming with potential!

You may have heard about the three spirited Southern Chester County youth, who are taking the lead to put on a Kennett Students Speak event for the broader community. They are thoughtfully planning a zoom meeting on Saturday, August 8 at 1 pm to create a forum for minority students to tell their stories of experiencing discrimination in the Kennett school system.

An invitation is extended to Kennett students, alumni, KCSD workers, and supportive community members to join this dialogue.To attend the zoom meeting email to sign-up: kcsdstudentconcerns@gmail.com

In light of the current Black Lives Matter movement, three youth leaders have recently been holding conversations with the Kennett Administration to uncover and address systemic racism and minority discrimination within the school system.

This should be no surprise, when one confronts the fact that our whole culture still needs to peel off the next layer of systemic inequity that often quietly persists.The youth have some “real life” stories to share that will help the school system delve deeper into ways the dignity of each student can be honored.

Just as important, this event gives our town the opportunity to reflect on other community systems that may be experiencing the same “stories.” We are a town that cares and has creatively addressed challenges in the past in a peaceful, progressive, inclusive manner; we will rise to this occasion as well.

Kennett is not alone. There is a BlackBrownChester County Speak Twitter account that records hundreds of stories of racism and discrimination across Chester County School Districts.

The youth are asking the public to be part of this process. Along with the “stories” and voices that they are asking to be safely heard, there also will be a panel of community members providing their reflections on how to create a positive community outcome. Listening and caring are certainly the first steps we all can take.

One of Bridging the Community’s guiding principles is “Focus on potential.”

For the residents who reflect on this principle,they can see that it is the key to energizing and unifying the community towards positive outcomes.

When a community issue shows up, we look at what can be acted on that will actually build up the community, through addressing the potential and need for understanding that underlies the issue.

An example of a Kennett Borough disruption when we worked from potential was the time period when families from Mexico started purchasing homes in the town and complaints were made by original homeowners about practices that new neighbors were engaging.Kennett youth from the neighborhood stepped in and helped facilitate education and participation in interactions between the neighbors, which eventually helped bring understanding and activated the potential for neighborliness.

The vision that I now hope that we all hold forKennett Students Speak: Each student will be treated with respect and dignity in the education system, as well as in the broader community and be given the opportunities to reach his/her full potential.

Note from the students: At present, the school district is appropriately focused on the fall reopening of our district's six schools. We look forward to inviting the district administration to partner with us in the near future.

The Story of Kennett may be purchased on Amazon and at the Mushroom Cap or Resale Book Shoppe in Kennett. Contact Joan Holliday at dochollisv@aol.com
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