The Centipede

Our Stories: Stefano Amador

Stefano Amador ‘19

“Our Stories” is a new Community and Equity column in the Centipede. Monthly submissions are managed by Opinions Editor, Yoon Kim.

Trayvon Martin first introduced me to social justice. In 2012, Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, because his appearance as a young black man with a hood made him “suspicious.” When I saw a picture of Martin, I could only think of how much he looked like my cousin. That thought stayed with me as I learned about the country’s unjust criminal system watching the news.

The following day at school, everyone, including myself, brought an Arizona Ice Tea and Skittles, which Martin was carrying when shot, with them for solidarity without knowing what “solidarity” meant. Everyone treated Trayvon Martin as if he was a neighbor, a friend, and a brother. Social justice and activism meant something different in my community. It meant treating people like family. That’s why I find it important in my life.

I grew up in three different neighborhoods in Boston. I went to school in West Roxbury where my teachers taught the class with movies about troubled students like Freedom Writers and Stand and Deliver for “inspiration,” but I always thought they should have been the ones watching it. Teachers where I went to school didn’t push you when they had to like the teachers in those movies. I didn’t have the same resources we have at Concord Academy because I went to public school. It wasn’t until after middle-school when adults at Beacon Academy, a school-year program that I went to, impacted my life by believing in me. I was given a real education and support from the adults and the 18 other students in my new community. As I worked hard at Beacon, I learned that an education is something that should never be taken for granted.

When I came to CA, I always thought I was one step behind everyone else because I came with a different story. I was scared about coming into a space that originally wasn’t made for people like me. It’s hard to feel like you’re a part of this community when you’re the minority. It took me a while and many discussions to realize that my background and the community I come from not only gives me a greater perspective of the world, but also helps others acknowledge and understand how different we all are.

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