AF Scholars Destiny and Smith

AF Amistad High 12th grader Destiny is leading a thriving Civil Discourse Club, which she created after an intense discussion in AP Government & Politics class. We sat down with Destiny and her classmate and fellow club member Sarah to learn more.

You created a club with about 15 members, during a time when you’re not able to meet in person? How did you do it? Where did the idea come from?

Destiny: I like hearing others’ ideas and opinions. In class, we had a lesson about federalism, and then we talked about the Breonna Taylor case, and what happened to her. I heard a lot of people voice their opinions and thoughts about it. People were disagreeing during class. When it was over, I thought, “I’ll just make a Zoom for whoever wants to join.” On that Zoom, we not only discussed the Taylor case, we talked about injustice in America as a whole. We spent three hours just debating, hearing others’ thoughts and opinions. I didn’t think it would become a club at first, but now we’re meeting online every Friday for at least an hour.

That sounds like you got off to a great start! What do you hope the Civil Discourse Club experience brings?

Sarah: It’s important to talk about the country’s response to a lot of the injustices we see, and how politics plays a role in preventing or promoting certain things. It’s important to talk about whether you agree or disagree with the policies. I came into the conversation about the Breonna Taylor case with an unpopular, polarized opinion. I joined because I wanted to see — what information do my classmates have that I don’t? I got the chance to see where the other students were coming from. You can have one perspective, and talk to someone who you don’t agree with. You don’t have to change your opinion, but as they elaborate, it gives you a broader perspective.

Destiny: We talked about no-knock warrants, we touched upon the discussion around defunding the police. It was open to everyone to share. My ideas did change, and I was able to receive new information from my peers.
Sarah: Our club is going to talk about stuff that young people don’t usually talk about or agree upon. We want to talk about mental health in the Black community, how men and women are seen when it comes to issues like abuse, and more.

This is all so important. What do you think other people can learn from your club?

Destiny: I feel like other people can learn how to voice their opinions in a calm manner and be open. I never thought I’d be starting this club and I think it’s important to think about starting things that can be empowering and helpful or other people. There’s a lot of things happening in the world that we need to talk about.

Sarah: The point is just to have healthy dialogue without the hostility. Especially in this day in age– it’s important to see where people are coming from.

That’s great advice. You’re both in your final year of high school. What comes next for you?

Destiny: I want to study psychology and naturopathy. I want to be a family and marriage counselor. I also want to minor in business or marketing, because I eventually want to start my own business.

Sarah: I plan on going the medical route, I want to be a cardiovascular perfusionist. I am passionate about nursing, cardiology, and the heart, and I knew I wanted to get my master’s degree – so I came across this role and figured it would be a good way for me to work alongside heart surgeons and monitor the heart and lung machine. I’m also really passionate about music, and I’d like to explore that more.

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