FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – Students in Williamson County are speaking up, making it known racism is real and prejudice is possible.
“I have personally experienced antisemitism multiple times during school hours and it has gotten progressively worse,” high school junior Lily Stone told the Williamson County school board.
It’s an ongoing conversation at meetings where students share their experiences.
“We’re coming together to attack racism as a whole,” reaffirmed Ravenwood High School student Jayden Moore.
Racism is a reality for Revida Rahman, a mother of two boys in Brentwood.
“My son came home one time and saw the n-word on the concession stand at school,” Rahman explained. “It was amazing to me, one of his [white] ally friends, was madder than he was.”
It’s creating a similar support system that Rahman is most passionate about. She co-founded the group One WillCo. Jennifer Cortez, another mother in the Williamson County School District, joined after learning more from families of color.
“She started sharing her experiences with me about what it’s like as a Black woman in Nashville and we all just leaned in like, wait, what?” Cortez remembered.
No longer unaware and uninformed, Cortez vowed to do more.
“It’s only in the context of relationship that those conversations can happen,” Cortez said. “That’s why One WillCo is so important because we are building those relationships.”
Those chats go both ways Rahman says, “A coworker asked if I was the maid when I walked into the building, and my white coworker stood up and was defending me. One thing that I learned, is all white people aren’t the same. And, that was empowering for me and I needed that.”
She wants her children to know they have allies who don’t look like them. One WillCo is a space where families of different races and beliefs can congregate to have civil conversations that lead to true friendship.
“We’ve all inherited some stories and some narratives, and some ideas and assumptions that are not all true,” Cortez explained. “So, One WillCo wanted to be a space where we could come together and learn from one another and really have psychological safety so that we can do better.”
On March 26, One WillCo will host Skate Night for Students in grades 7th -12th. It will be held at the Brentwood Skate Center from 6-8 pm.
The hope is students of diverse backgrounds can have a night filled with fun activities all while breaking down barriers.