NH community leaders condemn Trinity High School student’s racist homecoming proposal

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This story was originally produced by Manchester ink link. NHPR is republishing it in partnership with the Granite State News Collaborative. We have edited the original piece for length and clarity.

A racist “homecoming proposal” posted by a Trinity High School senior on social media has sparked outrage, particularly among the school’s and city’s black community.

Ronelle Tshiela, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Manchester, said many people in Manchester’s black community were outraged after the student posted a picture of him with a girl, who is not a Trinity student , holding a sign with a racist message referring to slavery.

Tshiela took a screenshot of the post from the student’s social media account before it was deleted and reposted it to the BLM Manchester Instagram page. WMUR later confirmed with Trinity’s football coach that the student is part of the team.

Manchester Ink Link has contacted the school for comment, but has not received a response. On Thursday evening, Trinity President Nathan Stanton issued an apology to everyone affected by the social media post. The statement he released said, in part: ‘We received a report this afternoon that one of our students posted an extremely inappropriate message on social media. Student disciplinary action is confidential, but I can assure you that prompt and appropriate action was taken, as this type of behavior does not reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church or the mission of Trinity High School.”

His statement continued: “This behavior was unexpected and unbecoming of a Trinity student. While I am disappointed that this has happened, I am grateful that it has been brought to our attention so that we can continue to train students in faith, virtue, and character in partnership with parents. On behalf of our entire administrative team, I would like to apologize to everyone affected by this social media post.

Tshiela said her roommate’s sister, who is black and a Trinity graduate, is currently attending Trinity and told her about the assignment. She said black students at the school were afraid to speak out publicly.

“I was disappointed, but not surprised because I have friends who went to this school, and I also graduated from a school in Manchester and we’ve seen things like this happen before, so this doesn’t is not the first time,” Tshiela said. “I was very disgusted but also very hurt for black students going there because I know what it’s like for things like this to happen. It’s like you don’t have a voice. »

She said BLM Manchester wanted to express ‘our support for the black community who have been affected by the posting, especially Trinity students. It is disgusting and appropriate action should be taken.

Tshiela noted that the school’s statement about the incident does not mention racism.

Tshiela said when she first saw the ‘come home proposal’ she thought it was a hoax because when she Googled the phrase she saw that other students across the country had done the same. A student from Sarasota, Florida in 2018 used the same phrase in a prom proposal.

“What it says is that it was a very intentional act because he found it and it raised questions in press articles and he decided to use it anyway,” he said. she declared.

On Friday, the leadership of the Manchester Mayor’s Multicultural Advisory Council leadership team called on Trinity management to take action to address the racist message.

“Statements like this undermine the vision of the Multicultural Advisory Council, which is that Manchester is a city where full and equal participation exists in all aspects of life and where diversity is valued as an integral part of our community. “, they wrote. action undermines our vision and our efforts to make our city a more welcoming and vibrant community for all.

A statement condemning the student’s actions and expressing support for the black community was also released by YWCA New Hampshire.

BLM Seacoast executives also spoke out against the racist act on social media. BLM Seacoast organizer Clifton West, Jr. posted a screenshot on Twitter on Friday of a racist email he received after the organization spoke out against the actions of the ‘student. The threatening message came from someone representing a white supremacist group saying people were “trying to ruin [the student’s] life on a joke.

“I don’t usually post the threatening emails I receive, but I will make an exception today,” West wrote. “It’s the other side of the organization that people don’t see. We need to work together to make sure white supremacists no longer thrive and feel comfortable in our state.

Tshiela said she had heard from other Catholic High School students and alumni via social media that this was not the first time something like this had happened at school, including someone who said she had been forced to straighten her hair because her braids were not deemed acceptable by the dress code.

She said Trinity students tried to form a black student union or a multicultural social club late last year or early this school year, but were turned down.

“[T]The school said it wasn’t inclusive enough,” Tshiela said. “Anyone could join, but the school turned them down…the black students expressed the need for a safe place in this school and they were turned down. I think that’s something that needs to be talked about as well. »

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