High school students share their experiences on growing up Black in Spokane

Northwest Passages book club is hosting a symposium to celebrate Black culture and tradition, featuring pieces written by Black high school students.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokesman-Review began collecting student work in the form of essays, stories, poems, art and short films in early December to share at its Northwest Passages book club event.

Works centered around Black culture, tradition and what it’s like growing up Black in Spokane.

Nwannediya Kalu, a junior at Rogers high school, said her teacher encouraged her to submit a piece.

“I love to journal,” Kalu said. “I’m always writing or like, at least typing on my phone, things like that. It plays a really big role like in my everyday life.”

Kalu and five other Black high school students had their pieces published in The Spokesman-Review and were invited to share their stories at the Black stories symposium.

Kalu said she’s excited to share her work with Spokane.

“I knew that when I was writing it, it’s all the things I’ve always wanted to say,” Kalu said. “I just needed the platform to do so.”

Kalu said her story can resonate with different minority communities about growing up in Spokane.

It’s for a perspective that I feel like all minorities can kind of fit, not just African Americans, and I wanted it to show that despite what we display on the outside, we can display that we’re perfectly fine and like, okay with any discrimination going on in the world, but it can’t be overlooked,” Kalu said.

In addition to the students sharing their stories, Spokane to Hollywood producer Mandi Price will be a special guest speaker.

Price is credited as a producer on some of America’s favorite shows like ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ and ‘Archive 81’.

She’ll take part in a discussion on the importance of representation with Spokane NAACP chapter president Kiantha Duncan.

She said she’s honored to be a part of an event that inspires young creatives in her hometown to share their art.

“There’s just so many different facets of what is art and I think that if we just celebrate all kinds, how magical is that?,” Price said. “And to have something like that in Spokane that celebrates culture is just something that’s unique to the city and I’m so thankful to the city for having something like this.”

Price said she hopes events like this inspires young Black creatives in Spokane to dream big, take risks and keep sharing their stories.

She said as a producer in Hollywood, she knows what it feels like to be the only Black person in the room and often overlooked.

She said she wants to invite other Black young people to join her at her level.

“This whole thing, for me, is about inviting more people to the table, how do I use the place that I’m at in my life right now and the privilege that I have to bring others into this fold?,” Price said. “Because what I get to do everyday is crazy, it’s magical and I want to bring more to the table.”

Organizers are expecting 130 guests to attend the sold out event.

Article Source: Krem2