Dianna Murray is a young activist who wants to make changes in the educational system for black and brown bodies.As a senior at Madison West high school, she organized multiple protests and worked to bring issues like the prison pipeline and the achievement gap to the forefront, and work on solutions to close the gap. Dianna has been a member of [YU?] for four years.
Murray says one of the biggest protests she’s helped organize was the Tony Robinson protest with the group Young, Gifted and Black. In 2015, Robinson, an unarmed, 19-year-old black male, was fatally shot and a Wisconsin police officer.
In addition to organizing marches, Murray says most of her activism has been with school administration. At Hamilton Middle School in Madison, the student population is less than 6 percent black. Seeing a need, she started a Black Student Union (BSU) at the school and created space for students to express themselves and thrive in their culture. “I don’t have to talk to staff all the time. It’s important for me to talk to students and let them know they have a mentor and someone to look up to,” she said.
Murray plans to continue her advocacy throughout college and after she graduates. She says she plans to get her degree in secondary education and history with an emphasis in African-American history. Currently, she’s choosing between attending Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Murray says she’s choosing history because she feels the subject is not always taught the way it should be. “Knowing your history shapes you as a person,” she said. In addition to helping shape students through history, Murray feels there needs to be more teachers of color who are aware of what is going on in education system and are aware of how the prison pipeline works.
Eventually, Murray says she wants to move into administration and policy in the education realm. “I feel I can’t do that until I’m [educating minds] in a classroom.”
Even though Murray is fighting for change in the educational system, she still manages to have her outlets. She enjoys going to museums and seeing different types art. Murray says her job also helps her unwind. She’s a program leader and works with middle school students. “I plan the after school activities and help run the clubs,” she said.
To students and even professionals who are striving to be young activists and make change, Murray says it’s important to do your research on the subject you want your voice heard about. “People love when they’re hit with statistics.” She also says know what you want to fight for. “Remember to be vocal.”
Written by Uniqua Quillins