"My Voice" Series

Mireliz B. | Oley Valley High School | Grade 12

"The most controversial statement of this century is composed of three words: Black Lives Matter. Although small in length, it has become the most vehemently discussed organization. The misinterpretation of this motto has caused an uproar in our modern society. On one side of our society, we have the people who are the allies to those in jeopardy of being treated unequally, especially the minorities. The other half of society is composed of the people who cannot grasp the concept of Black Lives Matter and what it represents. This divergence in our country is creating us versus them mentality. Until recently, I did not understand why the motto specified that blacks were the ones that mattered. Why not everyone? As a minority of a different race, I wanted my people to matter too....." READ MORE.

Emily S. | Wyomissing Area Jr./Sr. High School | Grade 11

"Community Conversations for Change and the STAR pledge have taught me more about racism in our country than anything I have ever learned in school. It opened my eyes to the vast number of issues that people of color experience in our country right now....." READ MORE.

Amy C. | Oley Valley High School | Grade 11

"What is the Wealth Gap? The wealth gap between the rich and the poor, the 1% and the 99%, the white and black individuals, are measured by their assets and net worth. Net worth is measured by subtracting your debt from your assets. Assets are anything you own ranging from investments in stocks to residential property. Why is it important?....." READ MORE.

Katie S. | Wyomissing Jr./Sr. High School | Grade 11

"On February 13th, the STAR committee was invited by the NAACP of Reading to discuss judicial gerrymandering. The call was led by Upending Racism Founder Jennifer Hanf, President of the NAACP of Reading Stacy Taylor, and NAACP’s Membership Chair Dionne Stubbs. Guest speakers from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center—Deputy Campaign Director Katie Personette and Organizing Associate Ricardo Almodovar—attended the call to familiarize community members with House Bill 38 and specifically, its debilitating effects regarding how the state elects appellate judges....." READ MORE.

"Our Voices: Embracing Our Asian Heritage"

Katie S. & Elise W. | Wyomissing Jr./Sr. High School | Grade 11

Katie S.: "When I was asked to write about my Asian heritage, I thought the task sounded pretty simple. But the more I tried to write this piece, the harder the task became. How could the simple act of writing about my pride as an adopted Asian American, my pride as a woman of color in America seem so complex?...."

Elise W.: "What are you? As a person of mixed race, white on my mother’s side and Asian on my father’s side, I face a challenging identity crisis when approaching the topic of race. The mix of my parents’ genes created a unique mix of facial features, which often invites debate over which race is more visible in my face..." READ MORE.

"My Voice: Social Justice and Climate Change"

Katie S. | Wyomissing Jr./Sr. High School | Grade 12

"The United States makes up around 5% of the global population. Yet because of our extravagant lifestyles and lack of consideration for a planet that has outlived our very existence, America has consumed 17% of the world’s total energy. On a planet that has blessed us with ecological diversity and natural resources without cost, we continue to take from it, quickening the rate of global climate change, raising our sea levels, poaching our animals, destroying our ecosystems. Warming temperatures are resulting in increasingly destructive natural disasters, and coal power plants are making it harder for urban residents to breathe the air around them when it is filled of toxic contaminants. READ MORE.

"My Voice: Being Biracial"

Simon B. | Exeter Township High School | Grade 9

" Something that isn't talked about much is people of mixed race. Mixed people have different struggles and different ways of viewing things. I am black and white, a very simple combination of race. I used to think that there were two sides of me, a black side and a white side. The realization of what I was probably hit me when George Floyd was killed..." READ MORE.