May 14, 2019 – Teens Take Charge leaders Sophie Mode and Tiffani Torres examine present-day school segregation at The Atlantic’s 2019 Education Summit.
May 1, 2019 – TTC leader Sokhnadiarra Ndiaye and student leaders from Integrate NYC and ASAP testify at the City Council hearing on school segregation.
Dec. 7, 2017 – Teens Take Charge leaders testified before the City Council to encourage the city move faster to promote integration across the school system.
Below is a selection of letters and poems we've written about our experiences in the New York City public school system. As we continue to grow and host more events, we will be adding new voices and perspectives here. Please share our stories with your friends, families, and colleagues – and on social media using the hashtag #teenstakecharge.
Want to write your own story? Submit it at the bottom of this page.
I am a junior at Brooklyn College Academy, which means I graduate next year. But I am 17 years old, and according to the system, I am supposed to be a senior, so why am I a junior? Because I was left behind. I was left behind because I did not speak English.
Schools dot NYC dot Gov: “The DOE works hard to ensure that students in every borough, district, neighborhood, and school have the tools they need to achieve their dreams. We know that excellence is more than a goal, it is the birthright of every child in our city.”
The truth is that us Black and Latinx students are working hard. However, in this system, hard-work is not the sole factor to success. At least not when access to opportunity is unequal, underprepared educators are taking on the toughest jobs, and resources are scant in our schools.
I refuse to be another Black male student who had potential but just couldn’t make it because the systems set in play were too strong to tackle. I refuse to be compliant with a system that allows my people to leave their classrooms just to walk straight into a prison cell.