Cristo Rey students vow to end hate in school, community

cristo-rey-1In a era marked by anger and protest, students at Cristo Rey school in Midtown today took a peaceful march to symbolize their commitment to ending the bigotry and discrimination that affect students, the community and the nation. Then they pledged that their school and its community has officially become “No Place for Hate.”

The students have joined others across the country whose schools have been designated No Place for Hate schools by the Anti-Defamation League.

Cristo Rey Kansas City provides a Catholic, college prep education including a corporate work study program to culturally diverse students with economic need.

The No Place for Hate program begins when students agree to a resolution of respect.

I pledge from this day forward to do my best to combat prejudice and to stop those who, because of hate or ignorance, would hurt anyone or violate their civil rights. I will try at all times to be aware of my own biases and seek to gain understanding of those who I perceive as being different from myself. I will speak out against all forms of prejudice and discrimination. I will reach out to support those who are targets of hate. I will think about specific ways my community members can promote respect for people and create a prejudice-free zone. I firmly believe that one person can make a difference and that no person can be an “innocent” bystander when it comes to opposing hate. I recognize that respecting individual dignity, achieving equality and promoting inter-group harmony are the responsibilities of all people.

The students complete some exercises and take action to help students and adults learn ways to resolve conflicts,  fight bias and end bigotry.

Tabari Coleman of the Anti-Discrimination League in St. Louis.

Tabari Coleman of the Anti-Discrimination League in St. Louis.

Today’s rally was the culmination of all that work: a time to celebrate and look to the future. The students marched from Cristo Rey at 211 West Linwood Boulevard to the National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial.

“Your voices and footsteps are in synch with others across the country,” Tabari Coleman of the Anti-Defamation League of St. Louis told the students at the Liberty Memorial. He reminded the students that many people have marched in the United States to ensure they would have the ability to voice their passions.

And he said that what the Cristo Rey students have accomplished is more than just following the steps to receive the No Place for Hate banner.

“It is about being a part of a national campaign that calls for respect for everyone. “

“Ask yourselves, what am I doing in my daily life that might be a contribution to the problems in our society – and work on changing it,”he encouraged them.

Cesalee Carter speaking at the student rally.

Cesalee Carter speaking at the student rally.

Cesalee Carter, one of the student organizers of the program, said she learned about other people during the process.

“The challenge is to uphold our title as a place with no hate. I hope we abolish bullying in the school.”

Kevin Bilberry, another of the student organizers of the campaign, said after the rally that students are now more prepared to respond to real-world events like those in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Things need to be changed, but we don’t always have to respond with violence,” he said.

One Comment

  1. Sharon Martin says:

    Is there a typo in the next to last paragraph? “no” should be “now”?

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