By Aiden Sandhofner and Faron Blakely
Racism is an undeniable problem in not only America but throughout the world. The only way we can get close to solving this problem is by bringing attention to it. Katelynn Altman, a sophomore at Sheyenne High School is doing just that. She has spent the past couple of months creating a website for people that have experienced racism.
Altman wanted to start this website because her friend did a similar thing for a project in her English class. She has always been deeply passionate about making sure that people are having an equal experience and are welcome throughout school. Katelynn has also seen and heard people make racist remarks throughout Sheyenne. Altman says, “One main incident was in the hallway and a white student said the n-word to a black student. I told them that they shouldn’t say that, and they kind of just gave me a bad look.” She is trying to spread the word as much as possible through fliers and even getting our principal,
Mr. Williams, to make an announcement throughout the entire school. Mr. Williams even set up a meeting for her and the faculty around the school, just so that all the teachers are aware that it exists.
Katelynn is excited because this is going to be her first website that anyone can see and not just her teacher. As of right now, she has about four people who have shared their story, one of them even being from Liberty Middle School. Altman is making attempts to expand to Liberty, but right now she does not know how to, but is making efforts to learn. Until then, she has a separate tab on her website that is specific to middle schoolers. Katelynn thinks the website is a great idea because racism is not just a problem specific to Sheyenne, but it’s everywhere you look. She has given them the opportunity to be anonymous if they wish so they can feel better about what they are talking about. If they aren’t anonymous then they have the option to include a picture of themselves with paint on their hands, detailing the racial remarks that they have been called throughout their life.
Altman is in plans to continue doing this website when she is out of school as well, so that people are still able to speak up when they aren't at school. Altman has plans even after she graduates from high school, hopefully finding someone to pick up where she left off and keep their stories being told.
Katelynn is not the only person in Sheyenne who is working to fight racism. Sheyenne has recently spread the word about a club named DFC (Diverse Female Cultures). Counselor Ms. Raile is the advisor of the DFC and would like to touch on more about the club itself and how it’s working with Altman's website. Raile says, “I didn’t start the club; they just needed an advisor and they asked if I could do it and I was thrilled. We were happy to help educate staff about what it's like not being born a white kid.” The DFC is open to anyone but is focused more on talking about female empowerment and what it means to be a female in a diverse culture. Not only that, but it is also about not just ignoring color, but embracing it, and letting it define you. The DFC has been working with North Dakota State University’s Black Student Organization, their girls have been mentoring the Sheyenne girls about helping them prepare for college or what it’s like coming from somewhere with a more prominent African American population coming to Fargo. The DFC has also wanted to mentor some of the Liberty kids as well, because of how much they have learned from the Black Student Organization. Principal Williams came and talked to the DFC about “what it's like being “The Black Guy” at Sheyenne High.”
Clearly there is a shared movement to having productive conversations about racism at Sheyenne. This is a good start but there is a long way to go, thanks to the DFC and Katelynn, that road is a bit shorter.
If you have experienced any racism at our school, and want to share your story, then we recommend you direct message Katelynn on her Instagram, @faceracism.sheyenne. If you are unable to access Instagram, then you can also send her an email at, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to hear their stories, we strongly recommend that you look at her website https://faceracismnet.wordpress.com/racism-in-sheyenne/, just so you can see how much of a problem it is. Ms. Raile also wants to welcome you into the DFC, if you are thinking about joining you can contact her at email@example.com
The Mustang Post
All feature news content is produced by students in the Newspaper program at West Fargo Sheyenne High School.