By Isaiah Nelson
Dorman High School
The 2017 Moving Forward Together Summit Team is planning an outstanding Summit for June 12-13, to convene at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The purpose of the Summit is to improve race relations among African-American, Latino and other communities of color with schools, law enforcement, religious institutions and other organizations designed to protect, serve, and nurture all people.
Last year several students and I from Spartanburg County had the unique opportunity to attend the Summit. The Summit was held as a result of the incident that took place at Spring Valley High School where a black female student was thrown across the classroom by a white School Resource Officer. The Summit addressed many racial issues including how to deal with the police. Not only were students there to learn, but police officers, school people, religious leaders and lawmakers were in attendance to learn how we can better get along with each other in our day-to-day interactions.
Here’s what some of my peers are saying about last year’s Summit:
William W., student at Boiling Springs High School: "In Detective McFadden's session I learned to do what the officer says in order to avoid a physical confrontation. This is important for me to know as a young black male."
Elijah N., student at Dorman Freshman Campus: "Attending the Summit helped me understand how to appropriately deal with police."
Julius B., student at Chapman High School: "I learned how to respectfully interact with law enforcement."
Personally I've learned how to ask the police, if I am approached, if I am being detained or arrested. Basically, follow their instructions is the right thing to do. This will help in most circumstances. Unfortunately on September 4, 2014, Levar Jones was shot while complying with a police officer. This is what the newspaper reports: “As he exited his vehicle, State Trooper Sean Groubert pulled up, got out his patrol car and requested Levar’s license. He was NOT pulled over by the officer so he displayed no defensiveness. He simply complied. Holding keys or a cell phone in his left hand, he checked his empty back pocket with a light tap. With the fluid motion of instinctive deduction, he then turned into the car to retrieve his wallet. While Levar leaned in, Officer Groubert screamed, “GET OUT THE CAR” twice, with his gun drawn. Levar quickly complied (again) and pivoted in awkward shock while restraining his body from sudden movement. That’s when Officer Groubert fired four shots.”
I would like to see more students, from difference races, attend this year's conference, more police, more school people and more religious leaders. A better understanding may help us avoid the Levar Jones, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, the Dallas police killings, the Charleston Nine and other senseless violence based on racial hatred. Visit, www.blueribbonschools.com/conferences, for more information.
I am Isaiah Nelson a Junior at Dorman High School,