Statement from Nyree Holmes

When I planned on wearing my Kente Cloth, I only hoped for this day, I only hoped that I 

would be heard, I only hoped that change would come, I only hoped that one day I would be able to write this statement. Despite my miniscule inkling of hope, I spoke, my family spoke, our community spoke, our country spoke, the world spoke, we did it.

I am beyond pleased that the Elk Grove Unified School District has unanimously voted to allow students to truly express their first amendment rights and be proud of their cultures during the momentous occasion of their graduation. The 2017 graduation season will now feature students wearing the cultural garment of their choice without facing opposition from a culturally suppressive system; there has never been a statement that has made me more proud than this.

Though I am happy with the outcome, I was raised to understand that doing the obviously correct thing does not warrant applause or praise. Essentially, this is not a statement to commend the actions of the school district, but to commend the efforts of everyone involved in forcing the hand of the establishment. This entire situation would not have been recognized if it wasn’t for the outright disgust and anger people felt while hearing my story and the fact that they made calls to the district and Cosumnes Oaks High School to let their displeasure be known. I hope this inspires the young people of my generation to understand that we have the ability to make change happen and that not all rules are correct and that some are most definitely meant to be broken. We are consistently branded as a generation that whines and complains for what we want and people branded me with such redirect as well. We must realize that people fear our ability to stand up against the wrongdoing that we see – as well as our ability to mobilize rapidly through social media.

Every ounce of change made towards destroying any forms of oppression and intolerance makes a difference in our communities, the country and the world. I can tell you by my experience of being in the district for 8 years and 4 years at the high school that the EGUSD and COHS still has more work to do in making schools safer for everyone especially people of color. Still, this is bigger than just the district this instance should inspire anyone across the country to proceed with demanding change and inclusions of their cultures – especially in schools where we as students should feel included and not even more isolated. I am personally inspired that even at such a divided time in our country there is still change occurring, and we are still progressing where we can today.

We are unified by our similar struggles, and I genuinely thank everyone for their support and backing of this pivotal cause while I have been away at college.

-Nyree Holmes

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