My co-teacher and I asked our Institute students to write essays if they finished their exams early. The following was written by one of my students, age 17. I have edited it slightly for grammar/spelling:
…To be completely honest, yes, racism still exists. Just because things have indeed moved for the good of cultural diversity and tolerance, it doesn’t mean the bad is all gone. We live in a time where Dr. King and Mr. Mandela’s dreams are slowly becoming a reality. Not just for African Americans either, though I truly hate racism. I near unbridled fury when someone is naive, stupid, or ignorant enough to be shocked at the occasional racism charge.
I see it at my school every day. Hispanic with Hispanic, Black with Black, Caucasian with Caucasian but it’s getting better with time and evolution.
My friends and I truly don’t care and [lieghu?] ignorance to it as long as no physical action is taken. It is none of my concern. You can lead someone in the right direction but you can’t make them change.
And change come with time.
That is why I Teach for America, folks. To empower students like this young man to take inventory of the world around them and, to paraphrase Gandhi, “be the change [they] wish to see in the world.” Change is going to come with time, but the passage of time does not create change — we create change. We empower our students to create change. The author of this essay later told another TFA teacher at our school that he wants to join Teach for America.
I pray that he does.