St. John Fisher College holds ROC2Change summit on racial issues

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PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WHEC) — From national court cases to what’s being taught in our schools, issues surrounding race have been the center of many important discussions over the past couple of years; but how to have those discussions was the focus of the ROC2Change summit today at St. John Fisher College.

"The kids don’t want us to stop," said committee member Jeff Crane. "It’s obviously important in our world today to graduate students who have the opportunity to talk in a respectful and dignified way about race and the discomforts that come in discussions about that."

It’s been a movement across the greater Rochester area since 2016.

Students from every high school together in one place to have discussions about race and it all started after Ferguson and the killing of Michael Brown.

"With our goal to have all of our students understand the difference between being a non-racist and anti-racist and also to becomes more comfortable with discussions that have typically been uncomfortable discussions over the year," Crane said.

Zion McKinney goes to Churchville-Chili High School and was one of the 300 students in attendance.

"It’s important for me to be a part of this to learn how to use my voice," McKinney said. "Me being a part of this has taught me to use my voice outside of this I started being more bold and brave."

This summit is the first one in-person since the pandemic — and sessions focused around news and journalism, social media activism and debunking and stereotypes in media.

The summit also includes breakout activities for the students.

McKinney said she looks forward to these summits twice a year in hopes of bringing community, change, and conversation to her fellow classmates.

"I’m important," McKinney said. "My skin color is important and I should learn how to be comfortable in it and be able to talk about others about it too and stick up for me and everybody else around me."