Starting the conversation: it’s time to talk about pressing issues

By CLAIRE BUGOS and ABIGAIL WANG, Managing Editor and Feature Editor

Recently, the media has blown up with images and articles surrounding the deaths of two unarmed black men, Michael Brown Jr. and Eric Garner, and the nationwide reaction that followed. Masses of people have taken to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, New York, Oakland, Berkeley, Washington D.C. and other metropolitan cities around the world to protest the grand juries’ decisions not to indict the white police officers involved in the incidents. However, many at Sequoia have neglected to discuss the situation in depth, and we are frustrated.


Specifically, we seem to avoid conversations about race altogether. They’re hard. They’re uncomfortable. They’re emotional.


Some classes have alluded to the events; however, there was a lot of confusion in these discussions, in which few knew Garner’s name or understood the context of the situation. When the Giants won the World Series, however, it was celebrated on the school announcements. Garner and Brown’s deaths have not even been given the respect of a school-wide moment of silence.




First of all, if you don’t pay attention to the news, start now. It’s as easy as glancing over your parents’ shoulders when they’re watching the news on television, or scanning the front page headlines of a newspaper. If something sparks your interest, read it. If it’s all over your Facebook feed, look it up.


Conversations about controversial current events are hard, but nothing worth doing was ever easy. By talking about issues like race and the impact they have on us and so many others, we are broadening our own perception of the world.


If we don’t know anything about Garner and Brown, it’s more important now than ever to start talking to our friends, classmates, parents and teachers about race because this fight may not seem like ours, but it affects all of us. The issue is an American one: racial inequality persists in our country. It’s an conversation for everyone because we will only progress if we come together and talk about the elephant in the room.




It’s time to start these conversations with your students. Get the ball rolling. Bring up controversial subjects and connect with them on a personal level. Once your students see you as a person in the outside world, not just someone who grades their tests and quizzes, it will provide the foundation for a more meaningful relationship and deeper discussions.


Start off by having your students read articles either in our outside of class, then allow students to express their opinions in organic class discussions or free writes


Students often feel that what is constantly drilled into their brains in class isn’t always relevant to life outside of school. Now is the time to address what’s going on in the real world. It’s crucial to be able to digest these topics with a group of people with unique perspectives, in an academic environment.


While it makes sense to discuss race in English or history class, it is important to realize that even in math and science classes, problems in the outside world are just as pressing, and taking a break from the curriculum makes students realize the significance of current events.


We are living through history right now and what we learn in school shouldn’t just be what happened in the past.
This is just the beginning of an important conversation that we hope you’ll join. Send your thoughts on the issue as a letter to the editor to [email protected] or comment online at