High school student models organization after STAR

Dear Northerner,
I am a student at Taft High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a freshman who is just beginning in community organizing, I am compelled to write this letter to the Northerner. My name is Melvin Hamm, and I am president of our newly founded organization named the Future Leaders Against Racism Everywhere (FLARE).
We started last October and since then, have been working with D.J. Carter, Brandon Hill and Students Together Against Racism on developing strategies that will affect our schools in a positive manner. STAR has been the model on which we have based our oganization. FLARE’s role is to create anti-racist leadership for the advancement of our school and all people. We want to be able to fight racism on all fronts, no matter where it may lie. And with the help of STAR, we are really beginning to take that next step into undoing racism.
That leads me into the (Undoing Racism) workshop and the importance of it. Since I have met Brandon and D.J., they have told me over and over that they would like to see more high school students take part in the workshop. They told us in particular that the Undoing Racism Workshop would help us by giving us a direction and focus. The workshop was geared toward empowering yourself and community organizing. Not only did we learn different definitions and ideas, but we also came out with a game plan that we will use in the future.
I also noticed that there were a variety of people attending the workshop. I was glad to see that there were so many students and faculty that are interested in anti-racist ideas. It made me feel good to know that we were not the only ones interested in change. During the workshop, I had a lot of different emotions. There were points that were good and points that I didn’t always agree with. And throughout the whole workshop, I kept thinking to myself that our principal should go through this. I thought that Charlie Luken should go through this workshop also. What was really on my mind was where is the president of Northern Kentucky University? With a workshop such as this, I felt that people with such importance should be the first one signing up to attend.
Overall, the workshop allows people to take the step into greater understanding. I’d like to thank STAR and the People’s Institute for putting on this workshop and allowing me to attend. I am very appreciative. And the next year I am going to try to get my principal to attend. And I hope that President Votruba will attend also.
From a newly enlightened student,
Melvin Hamm
President of Future Leaders Against Racism Everywhere