Monday, January 19, 2004

Hispanic students part of diverse dialog at Glencliff High about legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

"About half of those in Radford's class are limited English speakers. Most of the Hispanic students sit in desks shoved against one wall. Some keep their eyes cast downward. Yayleen Colmenares, 15, sits forward."

"'When I was young I didn't know who he was. In fourth grade I learned. It was more of a white-black thing. It wasn't a Hispanic thing.'"

"Jalisa, near the front of the class, turns to Yayleen."

"'But if you were Mexican or Kurdish and came here 30 years ago, you would be treated like black people, maybe worse.'"

"Students in schools like Glencliff High — where 29 languages are spoken and there is no ethnic or racial majority among the student body — have to sort through a mosaic of messages and legacies about race. Leaders such as King form only one small part of those impressions. There are also teachers like Radford, as well as music, movies and television, and friends."

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