#YouthInAction: Teens Take Charge • BRAVE NEW FILMS


– 65 years after Brown V. Board, and here
I am talking about segregation in New York City. One of the most diverse cities in the world. My name is Lennox Thomas, and I’m in the 12th
grade. Teens Take Charge is a student
advocacy organization and we’re about integrating New York City
public high schools. – My name is Tiffany Torres and I’m a
senior in high school. For me, applying to high school was kind of
tricky. My parents being immigrants from the Dominican
Republic, I didn’t have a lot of support. – My name is Marcus, and I’m a senior at
Pace High School. I grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn. My grandma was one of the people fighting
for integration back in her day and I’m fighting for the same
thing now. – I would think that there should have been
a big change from the time that I went up to the time that he’s
going to school. – We actually have a more segregated school
system than it was 65 years ago. -Although African-Americans and Latinos make up 70 percent of all public school students, they make up barely 10 percent
in elite public high schools. – We didn’t find out about the specialized
high school test until a week before the test was administered. There was no support whatsoever. – I took the specialized high school admissions
test twice. I failed both times. – Though I surpassed the academic requirements
for this school, I was not accepted. – I just really started to like get angry. – I was resentful towards the way the system
works and how it targets students of color. It wasn’t until I discovered Teens Take Charge,
that I realized that I could actually contribute. – Teens Take Charge has three main proposals to integrate the schools.
The first proposal is to introduce academic cutoffs, so that there’s a mix of high performing and
low performing students in a school. The second is a more transparent high school
directory book. The third is our top 7 percent plan. If every
specialized high school reserved spots for the top 7 percent of every middle school, they would be diverse and represent
the actual demographics of New York City. We’ve had multiple sit downs with policymakers,
but we realized that nothing was changing. We were having the same conversation. We are going to take matters into our own
hands and so we’re going to disrupt your day. So I ask you all, where is our mayor? – It was our first rally. We planned it in
two weeks. We had over 600 students come out, and we
told students, “if you go to a white and Asian school wear
a white t-shirt. If you go to a Black and Latinx school, wear
a black T-shirt.” We had them sit on opposite sides and
we can clearly see segregation. I think people were really inspired after
the rally to keep fighting. -Well, we would love to let the grown-ups solve
the problem, but the issue is that you guys are not solving
the problem. – At this point, it’s too late for me.
I can’t go back in time. It’s not about you, it’s about those who come
after you. – The reason why I’m doing this is because
I hope that my children can go to an integrated school system. – I refuse to be another black male student
who just couldn’t make it. I refuse to be compliant with the system that
allows my people to leave their classrooms, just to walk straight into a prison cell. We demand change and we demand it now.

3 thoughts on “#YouthInAction: Teens Take Charge • BRAVE NEW FILMS”

  1. The engagement of the young will change this country. Feel the Bern IN MASSES and we amp up these fights to legislation as forced by the people.

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