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Cleveland Tackles Racism

After blackface and other ‘unsettling’ events

4/30/2019, 3:27 p.m.
Citing “deeply unsettling” events of “hate speech and racial insensitivity” at Cleveland High School, Principal Ayesha Freeman has assembled an ...
A chocolate cake decorated in blackface at Cleveland High School and posted on Twitter.

Citing “deeply unsettling” events of “hate speech and racial insensitivity” at Cleveland High School, Principal Ayesha Freeman has assembled an after-school student-of-color-focused panel discussion about racism, for staff and students to participate in.

The announcement follows an alleged incident where a group of white students at the school decorated a chocolate cake as blackface and sold it at a bake sale. Freeman emailed parents Thursday to relay “an event…that was hurtful to our staff and students of color.”

A Cleveland student identified as white tweeted an image of the cake, saying “a bunch of white girls at my school made a blackface chocolate and we’re all pissed about it.”

Four days before then, Freeman sent an email telling students and parents that a teacher had found a “string tied like a noose” hanging from an entrance to the school.

At future panel discussions, topics such as “How is racism showing up at Cleveland?,” “What can we do about it? What can we do differently?” and “How can we come together as a community to heal?” will be discussed, according to Portland Public Schools’ website.

An anti-hate assembly, specifically to honor the Native American Community will occur this Thursday, May 2 at the school. A Family Equity Council where concerns from parents will be heard will also be held on Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. at school’s library, where “all families who wish to attend for a community discussion about how to move forward” are invited.