Songbawera Issah

High School Student and Activist, Acton Boxborough High School 

My name is Songbawera Issah and I am a 17-year-old senior at Acton-Boxborough regional Highschool. In my free time, I play Ice Hockey on the women’s varsity team at my high school. This 2019-2020 season I served as the Captain of the team, which was an honor since I was the first black female captain in the history of our school’s ice hockey program. Although Ice Hockey is a huge commitment in my life, my first priority is activism in my community. During my sophomore year of high school, I received a racially charged note, “telling me to get out of this town” ending with a racial slur. Since then, many more hate crimes have occurred in our town and I have taken on the responsibility to do what I can to give our minority communities a voice. This winter I planned and hosted a walk-out protest to demand changes to be made in our school system and town to help make it a welcoming and safe place for all people regardless of race, color, or ethnicity.  

Discussion Content

“The Power of the Black Experience in the Classroom” by Keith Mayes 

TEDxMinneapolis 

Brief Intro:

I chose this video because it explains a social construct that has affected me personally. Growing up I have never had a teacher of color, although not impossible it is difficult for teachers who have not walked in the shoes of a minority to truly understand some of the hardships students of color go through on everyday bases. This video brings to light the importance and the change I believe my school system and many others around the country need to make in order to foster equity and inclusion within their schools. 

Song’s Discussion Questions (PDF for Print)

  1. How will having teachers of color close the academic achievement gap between students of color and their Caucasian peers in the classroom?
  2. What education/ programs can be put in place to prevent racially charged hate crimes between students at school? 
  3. What does it mean to feel secure and safe in your community? 
  4. What does it mean to have a role model?