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Jefferson High fight stories criticized

I am not a student, but a community resident who picked up your May-June issue. While I am glad that you are giving an outlet to students to talk about the racial relations at Jefferson High School between Latino and African-American students, I question your commitment to ensuring that the voice of African-American students is also heard and considered in this situation. In your article, you did not have one African-American student’s opinion on why these tensions exist and what they think can be done about it. If your newspaper is for the youth of L.A., please make sure that in forums where a particular group is discussed, that they are also well-represented. The photo accompanying the article on why the Jefferson fights occurred lacked any African-American representation. As a media outlet for youth, your responsibility is to give a voice to all of the diverse students that make Los Angeles a unique place to learn.Thank you,
—Yasmeen Muqtasid

Why weren’t any black Jefferson students asked to give their comments on the recent fights at their school? The articles about the racial tension at L.A.-area high schools seemed to be very one-dimensional. There was no display whatsoever from the black perspective about this series of brawls. Although this was only my first time reading this periodical, I felt so compelled to respond. L.A. Youth seems to be a cross-cultural look at different issues and topics that concern L.A.-area high school students. I would almost expect there to be a more positive article written to "heal" the disconnect that has taken place among the black and Latino youth. As a first-time reader, I am disappointed.
—Dallas Fowler (Los Angeles)

Two Jefferson HS students respond

I am a student at Jefferson High School responding to the letters that appeared in the September issue. I was bothered to hear what you stated in the letter, that there weren’t any African Americans who gave their comments [about the fights at the school]. As you may or may not know, students that wrote about the racial incidents were Jefferson students who do not attend school on the main campus. We are located at the Los Angeles Trade Tech College campus, which offers a program for Jefferson High students. At the time of the incident we had 130 students attending this program, but only one African American. We told him that he could speak up and write his comments, but he decided not to. One student would have been enough to give a statement about the issue, but we couldn’t force the guy to do and say what he didn’t to say. We all respected his decision.
—Patricia Tobar, Jefferson HS

No one read and saw what the African-American students thought about what was happening becaues they didn’t want to talk about what was going on. I think that this is something we had no control over. We couldn’t force them to write and talk about something they didn’t want to talk about or didn’t feel comfortable doing.
—Ilsy De Paz, Jefferson HS