My sophomore year of high school I transferred from my charter school in Brooklyn to a regular public high school in Long Island. I begged and begged my parents not to make me transfer and tried to come up with a bunch of alternatives to me having to transfer, but to no avail. I was going to transfer and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The school wasn’t so bad. In all honesty, it was much better than the school I was transferring from but I of course did not want to admit this to my parents. The main reason I was afraid of going to this school is because it was predominantly white. Out of about 1,000 kids in the whole school there were 3% African-American Students and 84% white students. This was scary for me. I was used to always being surrounded by people that looked by me.
From my first day at my new school, I felt immediately isolated and uncomfortable. I had no problem with white people and have obviously been around them before, but it’s a different type of uncomfortable feeling when you walk into a room and literally no one looks like you . In my first year there, I often felt unseen and unheard. There were times I’d be in a group and my ideas were immediately pushed to the side. There were also times when I’d try to jump into a discussion and I’d be ignored. I felt silenced and powerless. Granted, it wasn’t all bad. I did make friends and I did have some teachers do their best to make sure that my experience was as good as it could’ve been. At the end of my first year there I told myself that I would not have another year like that and I didn’t. I left that school with my voice heard, no longer being silenced because of my differences. I was no longer anonymous.