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Black At Albany Instagram Account Gives Students The Space To Share Experiences With Racism

Screenshots from posts on the Instagram account Black At Albany with stories from students about their experiences with racism

Many young people of color are faced with racism everyday, whether it’s blatant and in your face, or subtler microaggressions. One example was in the news three years ago, when a group of students at Albany High School created a racist instagram account attacking fellow Black students with racial slurs and depicted them as gorillas and hanging from nooses. The incident shook the school and the city.

The students who made the account, plus those who liked or commented on the posts, were all suspended. When they came back to school they were met with demonstrators and a student body that was outraged. The students’ families filed a lawsuit claiming the school doled out a punishment that was too harsh and that they feared for their children’s safety. The school settled with the families for over $500,000.

Natalie Johnson is a former Albany High student. She graduated before that incident, but her younger sister was there during the controversy. Natalie says racism at the school wasn’t new. She recently launched the Instagram account "Black at Albany" for current students to share their stories.

Click the play button above to listen to the interview.

This interview was produced with help from Bee Soll.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bee Soll is a producer with Your Call at KALW, and a producer, writer, and editor at KCBS Radio in San Francisco. She is a former reporter for Crosscurrents and contributor at KPFA Radio.