The Lift Every Voice series spotlights the individual voices in our alliance who guide us to wrestle with entrenched inequities and structural racism as we all learn, listen and develop strategies for change.  Members of our community have graciously agreed to share their varied experiences with us and those are below. Please take the time to read, listen and learn together with us.

Jadyn Becoats

“I attended Mendenhall for middle school, and it was very diverse, and then onto Page for high school. In my 9th grade year, I thought Page was diverse, but I realized my view was from the classroom that I sat in.”  Click here to read more.

Elma Hairston

“My dad had a 6th grade education, but he was a mathematics genius. My dad was smart, but he never had an opportunity to go to school. He made sure all his children were educated, and that we had everything we needed. He was a lineworker at Tip Top’s Bakery. He knew the business inside and out; but, he was never promoted to foreman.” Click here to read more.

Jose' Oliva

“My mother immigrated to the United States when I was seven months old, and in 2011, I joined her. I was in the middle of high school, didn’t speak English, and was behind academically. I went to Doris Henderson Newcomer’s School, and many students from other countries were more academically advanced, especially in math and science.” Click here to read more. 

Frank Thomas

“It’s OK to be disappointed, but it’s not OK to be discouraged. Disappointed just means you
did not reach a goal, or you did not accomplish a task. To be discouraged means you don’t have any hope.”  Click here to read more.

Paul Travers

“I see grave inequities. Folks don’t have the same understanding of what life means in impoverished communities. There’s survival happening in communities where there’s high poverty, just survival. It’s day in, day out. That’s an absolute crime.” Click here to read more.

Monica Walker

“The characterization of my childhood was knowing your place: as a child as opposed to an adult; as a Black person as opposed to a white person; as a woman as opposed to a man.” Click here to read more.

Blake Odom

“When I came out of the restroom, the store was almost on lockdown. Everyone was looking for me.”  Click here to read more.

Kelly Graves

“I wonder if my other white friends, who do not have children of color, really understand the pain of needing to have these conversations with children.” Click here to read more.

Phil McCall

“Whites have often not accepted the legal concept that ‘separate but equal’ while demonstrating that integration is not acceptable. Until that changes, we, as a community, will all be losers.”  Click here to read more.

Adrienne Spinner

“I am part of a population that sits at the intersection of systemic racism and sexism; and these systems, along with COVID, all say that my life doesn’t matter the way others do.” Click here to read more.

Sherry Wyche

“White privilege can not end until it is acknowledged and “spent” for good. Racism can not be remedied until education takes its place.” Click here to read more.

Tammy White

“Bill was carried to Pitt Memorial Hospital, dead on arrival, with his hands still behind his back in handcuffs.”  Click here to read more.

Afi Johnson-Parris

“At this point, my overwhelm shifted to awe. I realized I was in the presence of greatness in the most ordinary setting – an elementary school.” Click here to read more.

Cyril Jefferson & Megan Olgesby

“In a word where it’s commonplace to choose sides and run to our proverbial corners, we are choosing to do what is necessary to make things better.”Click here to read more.