Quincy Allston served as Student Council Equity and Inclusion Representative for the 2019–2020 school year. We asked asked him what he thinks of this moment we're in right now.
What’s helpful to you as a student right now?
As a student right now, what would be the most helpful is not speeches or statements but rather an actual commitment to foster spaces for Black students. While I am no longer a student, for my entire high school career I and most of the Black students were left to fend for ourselves without any support systems and had to reach out and create those spaces ourselves. I would probably want to see an actual support/affinity program that the administration facilitates (not meaning they participate in) for Black teachers and Black students to engage with each other.
What conversations or support do you want from your peers, teachers, school?
I think that a real conversation needs to be had with the Black students to support them. I think the administration needs to do a lot more asking Black students and faculty what they need and actually giving them what they need. I think a great start would be to extend these questions to the Black students and faculty that are still part of Nueva because I have graduated. I also think that it is not at all fair for incoming Black students to be unaware of [struggles] that Nueva continues to have . . . I certainly wish I had known.
What do you hope will happen next?
I hope that our administration recognizes that you don’t have to look farther than the walls of the school to find racism. I hope that the administration decides to start addressing this racism with concrete actions . . . I hope the administration opts to convey how serious we are about antiracism through punishments because things like suspension can be reconciliatory . . . I hope in the future the administration does not [place the burden on] Black students to disclose information about racist incidents.
What are important conversations we need to be having right now?
I actually think Nueva has a lot of conversations. I think the problem is [it doesn’t feel like anything is being] done about these conversations. Talking is really easy but for some reason we believe that antiracism is as simple as just having a bunch of conversations. We put the entire burden of social justice on one person and when of course that doesn’t fix the problems we throw our hands up . . . I think a great place to start might be not pretending like our problems don’t exist . . . Antiracism is not some sort of half commitment you can make by just having conversations. It is definitely not easy and it means making hard decisions to stand up for the safety of Black kids instead of always thinking about how we can save a white kid’s future from their own racism . . . [To be an antiracist organization, you can’t] both consistently prioritize the education and futures of racist students and call yourself antiracist.
Lastly, get rid of the IQ test. The test is proven to be subjective and really isn’t measuring the abstract idea that is intelligence or giftedness. The way we define giftedness on our website is so wildly abstract and can really be applied to most children. A test that measures how fast you can arrange blocks and say strings of words backwards measures exactly how fast you can arrange blocks, not one’s proximity to any of these conditions.