Students gather at Our Lady of Mercy High School in response to racist message
BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WHEC) — "This school is filled with a bunch of n*****s Get out or else!!," was the message written in sharpie on a bathroom stall at the Brighton all-girls high school.
News10NBC’s Patrick Moussignac reported on the disturbing incident on Monday. That’s when it was found and officials believe it was written either after school on Friday or over the weekend on Saturday.
Tuesday, students gathered in support with each other and against the racist threat. The gathering was described as a peaceful rally in solidarity against the hateful messages. About 18% of Mercy students are people of color.
Janaa Smith is a senior at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women said she’s been working on raising awareness when it comes to racial justice since she’s been in school.
“Something I don’t want anyone else to have to experience, so I want to take a stand here today and make a change in our community,” Smith said.
She said seeing this picture of a message written in the bathroom at the school with the n-word and a message reading "get out or else." was shocking and extremely hurtful.
“I felt like why am I being threatened and called a name for the color of my skin? And to be someone who’s looking at colleges and, you know, finishing up my high school career, getting a good education, it felt like every accomplishment I’ve ever had is just being dumbed down to the word, which is just something so terrible,” Smith said.
The graffiti was found by a student Monday morning. Organizers of the protest say seeing students rally together in solidarity against racism is just the first step.
“I’m really proud of everyone for coming out and showing up, this really, really shows that we’re trying to speak up against racism,” senior Molly Kantz said.
Kantz said they have to do more to speak up and continue and create uncomfortable conversations.
“I think we’re all just heartbroken and shocks, not one person I talked to who said that this is ok and just by seeing the turn out like we’re not a school that supports that at all, one of our critical concerns is racism and we’re taught to stand up for it, and this is something that I really want to speak up about,” Kantz said.
Smith said since she’s been a student, there have been some issues in the past but nothing as serious as this and is grateful other fellow classmates came out in support.
“It feels really good to know that we have people here who don’t believe that, you know, I should leave or anything like that and who actually believe my life matters, and that just feels really good to know you have solidarity in your school and that in your community, it just feels really good,” Smith said.
The school’s principal, Martin Kilbridge, said that whoever is responsible for writing the message could face everything from detention to expulsion.
Anyone with information on the racist graffiti should contact the Brighton Police Department at 585-784-5150 or Mercy at email@example.com.