“Growing up in Niagara, I have dealt with racism. I think it’s from a lack of education,” said DSBN student Marcus Morgan. “That’s why I want to get out there and use my voice to contribute to the conversation on racism, and be involved in spreading the message that it exists, and that it has to come to an end.”
Grade 11 Greater Fort Erie Secondary School student Marcus Morgan was photographed while he peacefully demonstrated with 4,000 Niagara citizens at a Justice 4 Black Lives rally on June 6, 2020. Sparked by the death of George Floyd, the rally unified the community to bring awareness to systematic racism.
Sitting in front of a police car, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the names of the Exonerated Five from New York City, and boldly holding his message. All against the backdrop of COVID-19.
Marcus Morgan’s picture really is worth a thousand words.
Photo: Greater Fort Erie Secondary School student Marcus Morgan participating in a Justice 4 Black Lives rally in Niagara Falls
Marcus’ photo captured his passionate, personal message; one that he hopes will influence important conversations and further education in his community about racism and discrimination – and it will.
Right now, the photo is proudly on display at the Niagara Falls History Museum as part of the ‘…And We Rise’ exhibit, designed to commemorate a rally that has now become a historic day in Niagara.
Students like Marcus are regularly applying their learning to the world around them. For Marcus, this has meant getting involved in the issues that matter most to him, exploring those interests, and growing his knowledge. Marcus is using his education to make a difference now, and hopes he can contribute to even greater change down the road.
“It’s important to be a part of what’s happening in the real world, and not being limited to only reading about it from a textbook or watching a video. I want to learn from others too, and be out there hearing their stories,” said Marcus. “At the rally, there was a lot of support from all cultural backgrounds, and that taught me I wasn’t alone, which was really empowering. Experiences like this are important for me and I’ll use what I learn from them to help educate others.”
Students are open-minded, opinionated, critical thinkers. Their conversations are powerful, and their voices are a fundamental tool that will help shape the future. And when we listen, we can ignite their passions, inspire them to drive the change they want to make, and even learn a thing or two.
“I want to teach others that any young person can take action and stand up for what’s right, and to remember that racism isn’t just a trend. It’s more than just showing up at a rally and posting to Instagram. It’s really about showing solidarity, doing the research, and getting educated.”
You can help Marcus with his mission to spread his message by going to check out his photo at the Niagara Falls History Museum ‘…And We Rise’ exhibit, on display until the end of January 2021.
Photo: Marcus Morgan and mom Nicola Hasmatali with Marcus’ photo on display at the Niagara Falls History Museum's '...And We Rise' exhibit