Less than 100 years ago, the KKK marched in downtown Palo Alto.
When the Bayshore Freeway (a segment of Highway 101) was completed in 1962, the Palo Alto area was redlined and Black families were directed away from Palo Alto and into East Palo Alto — two cities that are now on opposite ends of the wealth spectrum.
Last year, over 85% of PAUSD white and Asian students met state academic standards, while less than 38% of Black and 50% Latino students did.
Racism, injustice and inequity permeate every aspect of our society, even in the liberal bubble that is Palo Alto. The ugly pieces of Palo Alto’s history are consistently neglected and swept under the rug, but they have had a lasting impact on the Black community.
Black voices are consistently underrepresented in our schools, workplaces, media — including our own publication.
The Campanile recognizes our failure to represent Black voices in many of our regular issues, and we are making a commitment to use our platform to continually support and uplift the voices of Black students.
After discussion with officers from the Black Scholars United club and Yolanda Conaway, the district Equity Coordinator, we have opened submissions for opinion pieces on any topic from students of color. We invite these students to share their stories and perspectives, and we commit to continually publish them in a dedicated section of our publication. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org year-round.
This section of the paper will also include Conaway’s and diverse student perspectives on different aspects of Palo Alto’s history and the historically underrepresented student’s experience in our district, from the Tinsley program to the redlining of Palo Alto.
We are also committing to interviewing more Black sources and raising awareness about the journalism program and campus publications among Black students to increase diversity on publication staffs.
The struggle for racial justice in America is not simply a viral moment, and the use of our platform to uplift underrepresented student voices won’t be a trend — we’re making a commitment to continue our efforts in every subsequent edition of The Campanile and online.
To say “Black lives matter” should not be contentious. The movement highlights the deeply rooted prejudice and injustice American society harbors toward Black people: an injustice that has taken the form of violence and bigoted acts thousands of times.
The fact that it takes instances of blatant racism, cruelty and murder caught on video to kickstart the movement is even more of a tragedy. How many more of these incidents weren’t recorded?
The Campanile stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and so should you. We urge you to take action by signing the below petitions, continuing to protest and fulfilling your civic duty to vote.