My name is Alliyah Logan and I am a 16-year-old Jamaican American youth activist and intersectional feminist from New York City. It’s February, which means it’s Black History Month. Black culture and people have always been a crucial aspect of American politics and I’d like to share some reflections on this topic and what I think it means for the next generation of politics.

Let us think of Shirley Chisholm, Barack Obama, and John Lewis to name a few of the powerful African Americans who have changed conversations and societal norms surrounding black lives. It is extremely important for all of us to build upon the foundation that they have created for the next generation of leaders.

The first step to eradicating the oppressive forces that black people experience is to focus on specific issues people of color like me face. There are countless stories of inequalities in the education system, housing system, immigration system, and so much more.

I always fight for education equity for black students throughout the nation. Everyone has an equal opportunity to get an education but it is the unequal access to resources that we must focus on.

What do we mean by resources? Representation of black people in the curriculum and in the staff is crucial to ensuring the success of all students. We need culturally responsive training that educates staff on the importance of different cultures. Furthermore, we need investment in social workers and counselors instead of School Resource Officers. We need all schools to practice restorative justice. In addition, we need to ensure that all security and law enforcement professionals are screened and trained in trauma-informed first responding, so that they prioritize the mental and physical safety of all students. These aspects, combined, are pivotal for the success of all black students.

On behalf of the black community, I ask that all people become allies and start supporting us through legislation, voting, and acting within our everyday lives. I want to thank Next Generation Politics for giving me the platform to speak today. HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH!