The Bigger Picture

Student's respond to racially charged graffiti found on campus

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Back to Article

The Bigger Picture

Kadija Rhuma and Aurora Alatorre

On Saturday, May 11,  2019, Karolena Rubio, a senior at River City High School, went to take pictures of the graffiti that was written behind the West Sacramento Recreational Center sign. The message sent was very negative and prejudice, saying“Build the Wall #MAGA”.

 

As you may know, the president, Donald J. Trump, wants a physical barrier along the border between Mexico and the United States to prevent people from crossing over it illegally. This is known to be a controversial topic to talk about.

 

The racial message was a clear indication of what the vandalizer’s beliefs are, but that should not be presented around a high school or recreational center where kids and teens are daily.

The students who were most vocal about the situation were the Ethnics Studies class taught by Señora Monarrez . The students were very passionate but also upset about the graffiti.

 

“We felt like it made certain students feel unsafe that there are others who believe that we do not belong here. Also, I feel like if we pretend it didn’t happen then the person who did it is gonna think that it’s okay and I know that if we do say something about it is going to only  give them more attention but the fact that nothing has be done we should stand up and fight we are not gonna be pushed down,” Nayeli Deanda, 12, said.

 

Two other students then added to Nayeli´s thoughts.

 

“I feel like it gave our school a racist reputation because it was excluding latinos and it’s all over social media,” Jackie Rolon, senior added.

 

It is very disrespectful and whoever did it I feel like they need to owe us an apology,” Tangi Franklin, freshman stated.

 

This message not only made many students feel unsafe, but also hurt and made multiple students feel awful about themselves and not welcome to River City.  

 

“This is a school, there are different races in this school like that’s messed up toward the mexicans that are here and the other races… That made me feel like awful because i have family that from mexico, my mom she was born in Mexico my whole moms side of the family came from Mexico and it’s just like really messed up because it’s like them, telling my family to leave and stuff,” said Sofia Wells, a junior.

 

Once the graffiti was taken off and painted over, many felt like they were happy that they took the graffiti off as soon as possible but multiple students feel that the bigger picture of the situation is missing. This isn’t the only racist message they have seen around the campus.

 

“It just contains a lot of bullying,” said students in Señora Monarrez class.

 

“Everything is in the bathroom, everything is in the bathroom,” Yomara Cedeno a student in Ethnic studies exclaimed.

 

“ …see all the bathrooms there is graffiti on those as soon as we see it or as soon as we are notified about it we try to get someone in to clean it up,” Rodriguez stated.

“I hear a lot of kids saying the N word with the hard r it is really offensive,”  said Treyshawn Still, Junior.

 

This is exactly what we mean by the bigger picture. There is more meaning behind the graffiti than the graffiti itself. It seems that students have taken causality to types of situations like this.

 

Students like Still believe we can grow from this experience and make our school better by simply acknowledging the diversity on campus.

 

“At the beginning of next year they can have a day where they recognize different cultures and bring awareness to the school,” Still said.

 

Mr. Mojsich, the principal at River City High School shared his thoughts of the “cowards” who wrote this insensitive message and what the few students who came up to him thought.

 

“There is no basis to it. It is just something somebody put out there to make trouble for other people and make certain people feel bad,” Mojsich stated. “I think what’s happening is worse than the graffiti itself. It’s people proliferating it on social media and that’s what makes it  worse because we were able to take [the graffiti] down.”

Paul Reyes, one of the managers at the West Sacramento Rec Center said,  “I don’t have any comment on it. I apologize. I mean I just see graffiti and It doesn’t pertain to me so.”

 

He then continues to talk about past graffiti incidents.  

 

“We had one incident like in 2009 and there hasn’t been any since. Well I think in this community this is their place this is there facility so I think they take care of it like their own house. We haven’t had any problems like that.”

 

In addition when asked if there were cameras he responded with, ¨There are only cameras in the facility.¨

 

Who committed this crime is unknown. There is no police report. This is what we mean by the bigger picture; no action has been taken to make sure incidents as offensive as these don´t happen again.

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