Although Massachusetts has a relatively low incarceration rate, it has an overrepresentation of people of color in prisons. Medwed noted that African-Americans specifically represent 26% of Massachusetts’ convicted population. Statistics show this unconscious bias correlates in the classroom when biased teachers negatively impact the self-image of colored students.
“School is a chance to develop and find out who you are, and once you start to criminalise behavior as a young kid, your ideas of yourself start to shape,” McCourty said.
Student journalists got their chance to interact with the panel during a Q&A at the end of the night.
“I enjoyed hearing about the perspectives and think there’s a lot we can do on the student end of it.” WHS senior Dana DeMartino said.
The Players Coalition plans on holding more events and providing resources regarding their mission to promote awareness of criminal justice issues.
“It’s important that we acknowledge that there’s things that are wrong, not the whole country is wrong, but there are things that can be fixed,” McCourty said. “The Players Coalition is an awesome experience to find some purpose and make a change.”
Members of the Players Coalition pose together after the presentation. (Photo/ Sydney Weinacht)