Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 26, 2013

RAISING AWARENESS

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "Looking at my mom, we have come a long way," said an emotional Steed. "But, looking at my son I realized we still have a long way to go."

Marjorie Gillies, vice president of the YWCA Niagara's board of directors, said in her years as a teacher in the Niagara Falls School District she saw students and community leaders tackle issues of inequality.

Gillies recalled a group of students who demanded change in the school's curriculum.

"Students at Gaskill Preparatory School were among the first to be involved in the stand," Gillies said. "On their own they went to the board of education and they asked for a whole curriculum change that ensured that every student that's in the Niagara Falls school district would actually learn of all people of color."

Norma Higgs, treasurer of the Niagara Falls Block Club Council, said she has seen racism in the community but not in the many community groups she has been a part of over the years.

Those groups have helped to build bridges, she said.

"Neighborhoods are what they are," Higgs said. "A collection of diverse people living side by side in a, hopefully, peaceful coexistence."

Tasha Moore, the regional director of the New York State Division of Human Rights, said standing up for equality takes courage.

"We are modeling courage right now, by gathering today in this room to educate and encourage and remind our community that racism hurts everyone," Moore said.

Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257

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