By Lori Higgins
Lamont Satchel Jr. isn’t interested in declarations of anti-racism by school districts and corporations. What matters to him goes much deeper.
“I don’t need an official statement from you. I want to see it,” said Satchel, a Detroit high school student who was part of Chalkbeat Detroit’s virtual student panel discussion on race Thursday afternoon.
What does he want to see? He wants to see corporations with Black people in positions of power and leadership. He wants to know that everyone, from the janitors to the CEO, have done self-reflection to see if they’re perpetuating stereotypes and if they’re treating Black and brown employees differently than they do others.
“Are they really saying that they’re anti-racist and having trainings and teaching their employees that?” asked Satchel. “Or are they saying they’re an anti-racist organization to keep their revenue flowing, to keep their workforce strong, to keep their public opinion strong? That’s the question we have to ask.”
During the hour-long conversation, Satchel and four other Detroit students tackled issues of racism, teaching Black history, police in schools, and activism. Well over 100 people, including a number of educators, tuned into the discussion that was moderated by Chalkbeat Detroit reporter Eleanore Catolico and former intern Imani Harris, a Northwestern University student from Detroit.