"You can’t be a kid in today’s world," HISD students discuss growing up in Sunnyside and Black history

FOX 26 sat down with five students at HISD’s Crispus Attucks Middle School. The school is located deep in the heart of Sunnyside, one of Houston’s predominantly Black neighborhoods. 

"I just want to thank all the people that’s done that stuff for us like Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and Harriett Tubman," said 6th grader, Hayln Moore.


What started as a friendly, light conversation about celebrating Black history and excellence, quickly took a sharp, morbid turn, when the topic of George Floyd and police brutality was breached. 

"For me, the George Floyd incident really took a toll on me because I was like wow, I can’t believe they would really do that to someone," said 6th grader, Madison Jonesaustin.

"What my mom told me is if we ever get pulled over is to put my hands where the cops can see them and try to follow their rules and do what the cops say to do and try to be as polite and proper as possible," Jonesaustin continued.  "Just because of the color of your skin, just being black, they can take anything you do in a wrong way and that's very sad and upsetting to know."

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Although these kids are only 12, 13, 14 years old, their parents have made them acutely aware of how they need to behave, in order to stay safe. 

"I have to think about what I say because sometimes when I approach somebody, they’ll get the wrong idea and if I’m in front of a cop they’ll probably do what they did to George Floyd to me," said 7th grader, Janavia Jackson. 

"The way I see it, like what she said about George Floyd, he said he couldn’t breathe, and the man still didn’t do it, didn’t get off, he kept putting his knee on his neck," Jackson continued. 

"They said first off, if you ever get pulled over, start off by obeying what they say," said 8th grader Mikyle Gabay. "I always try to think about what I would be able to do in that situation if I got pulled over or if an aggressive cop tried to approach me, I think I'd just try to obey as best as possible until I could get out of the situation."

Their answers were not only eye-opening but concerning.

Growing up in Sunnyside, one of the most crime-stricken neighborhoods in the Bayou City, walking side-by-side with violent criminals and hearing gunshots at night has become all too part of a normal routine. 

"I remember one time, me and my mom were watching a movie on the couch, and we just heard, bang bang," Jonesaustin said.  

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"Some of us grew up in what they probably called the hood, the ghetto, things like that. We’re used to types of stuff like this, so we just learn how to manage it," said 8th grader, Delicia Hines. 

"My mom just tells me whenever you hear like a little bang or whatever, just to get on the floor because like Madison said, it could go through a window or a door; and that does happen in my neighborhood sometimes," Moore said. "Mostly all the time at night when people shoot and stuff."

"You could just be riding the bus, and someone could pull up with a gun and just shoot the bus," Gabay said. "That’s how crazy it is. They have zero chill, no remorse, no mercy for anyone. You can’t be a kid because it’s so much stuff going on in today’s world that you have to know, you have to know."


While their fears may be warranted, their dreams of a brighter, better future are pure and well-intentioned. 

"For the future, I hope that everyone learns how to not judge each other off the color of our skin," Hines said. 

"What I hope for in the future is for us to end racism, and we can all be one community that gets along with each other, and I wouldn’t have to be worried about walking outside alone or riding the bus, or just being scared to be by ourselves," Jackson said.