GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Northwest Guilford High School students came together to start a new school club to unite their fellow classmates.
The idea was sparked after a racist video, involving two Northwest Guilford High School students, went viral online.
“You could really see the divide, like you saw how people felt about it. The energy wasn’t that good,” said Jaelen Clark, a junior at Northwest Guilford.
In the video, the students made racist comments and used derogatory language toward African-Americans.
The club called “United Youth of Excellence” promotes unity within the halls of Northwest Guilford through conducting open dialogues about key issues in the community like race.
“The goal is just to unite everybody, open up minds, open about different opinions,” said Jaelen Clarke, United Youth of Excellence student president and junior at Northwest.
The group says their new club allows students from all walks of life and ethnic groups to discuss topics they wouldn’t typically discuss in the classroom.
“Since the video came out, I think people realized that they need to have this club to express opinions and issues that we do have in our school that are obvious, that people just ignored,” said Alana Roy, a senior serving as a co-vice president of the club.
United Youth of Excellence meets every two weeks. There are about 30 students who participate and they encouraged more to join, especially those students with a different mindset.
“It means hope to me, not just for our school, but for our community and for our world that we can all co-exist despite our different views and opinions and that we can learn to understand where other people are coming from when they hold different views and opinions and how to respect them,” said Kema Leonard, a junior serving as the co-vice president of the club.
The leaders of the club are working on hosting a summit sometime next year that would encourage other schools to incorporate similar clubs in an effort to bridge issues within the Guilford County school system.