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As Pittsburgh’s African American political leaders spoke to the crowd about how they’ve experienced racism, and what methods they’re taking to combat it, it was a Pittsburgh high-schooler who had the most unique viewpoint.

“I’ve always been very fond of exposure, through (different types of) food, music, dance and other forms of art. Why not put that into learning other people’s cultures in the sense of how they live their life, what their characteristics are, what their upbringing is?”

Jomar Davis, a senior at Hill House Passport Academy, added that he feels “the torch has been passed down to me and my generation, that we need to take on the struggle.”

Davis, one of the speakers at the Summit against Racism Town Hall at the Union Project in Highland Park, Jan. 9, said he hasn’t felt the outright racism that, say, older speakers at the event have experienced. He wasn’t even born when Jonny Gammage was killed at the hands of five White police officers during a traffic stop in Pittsburgh in 1995. But if people would get to know about others’ cultures and respect them for who they are, African American men like Gammage, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile may still be alive today.

“I feel like personally, my agenda is to teach those to learn about others,” Davis told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview. “I want to explain to my fellow peers that we need to learn about other people’s cultures before we go off what the media says or what the stereotypes say about other people.”

Davis said he intentionally does research on other ethnicities, so that he doesn’t fall into the trap of wrongly stereotyping others.

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