On a regular day in school, Charleston, SC high school student, Imani Herring was approached by a fellow student who asked if she’d seen a tweet about her. Imani hadn’t and when she read the derogatory tweet from another student, Ashley Partick, she was immediately outraged, “If Imani Herring makes one more smart got dam remark in Mr. Rogers class, shit will drop. I wish a N*gga would…”While this phrase, “I wish a n*gga would,” is heavily used in Hip-Hop culture, it obviously doesn’t have the same effect when a white teenage girl uses it.

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While the student who wrote the racist tweet has faced disciplinary action of missing prom, graduation and has been placed on strict probation, no punishment she suffers will ever come close to Imani’s–who’s punishment for her darker skin is lifelong.

Imani is immediately seeing the impact racial-driven attacks have on an individual. She has now been faced with criticism from the media about Ashley’s punishment, claiming the teen was faced with unfair punishment for a tweet.

From Imani’s site:

The media was irresponsible. It was one sided. It targeted me and my mom. My mom felt that I had been through enough. We never thought that I would be a victim again. THIS WAS NOT OKAY.

Since the release of the article, my life has been horrible. People have made me feel as though I did something wrong. During this week, as I walked the halls at school, very few adults spoke to me. They stared at me and I felt their eyes on me. Students either came up to me all day to ask me one of three things:

1. Why did you do this to Ashley?

2. Are you Imani Herring?

3. What was that article about you in the paper?

Since this entire event, maybe two teachers have asked me if I am Okay. I feel alone. I feel angry. Believe it or not, I feel bad for Ashley. No one in the school brought us together to talk or to do mediation.

I am hurting. I feel alone and I need your help.

Instead of going inside her shell in this time of feeling alone, Imani is reaching out:

Please join me in my campaign to help the world know that IT IS NOT OKAY!

1. It is not okay to attack others through technology.

2. It is not okay to ignore, target and avoid communication with victims of Cyberbullying.

3. It is not okay to report one side of the story with cyberbullying. The real truth is that everyone becomes a victim. Media…this means you!

4. It is not okay to avoid mediation and face to face conversation when working through issues. Talking still works.

5. It is not okay to be silent. Silence is permission.

So I have decided to launch a campaign as an opportunity to heal. Join the movement to help others understand that IT IS NOT OKAY to avoid proactive, inclusive, socially responsible activities for ALL students, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Be a voice, don’t lose your voice. Together, we can all make a difference.

There’s something so endearing about Imani’s courage to speak out and reach out for support. What’s more heart string-tugging is the fact that Imani cares about what Ashley is going through. The natural reaction when you’re a victim of racist is anger. While Imani is angry, it’s not misplaced. There’s a lot we can learn from this teen turned activist and one of the major lessons is having a voice. Imani is using her voice to open up a dialogue about both sides of racism. Will you join her in this conversation?

Check out Imani Herring’s movement!

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