Camilo Medina during a Nov. 11 rally against hate speech in Oak Park. | Alexa Rogals/Staff Photographer

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Racist graffiti scrawled onto school property. Swastikas AirDropped to students’ iPhones during a school assembly. Teachers alleged to have called students the n– word.

None of this happened at Proviso Math and Science Academy, where sophomore Camilo Medina attends, but that didn’t stop him from venturing east to nearby Oak Park to help lead a rally at Oak Park and River Forest High School on Sunday.

Medina — a Forest Park resident and son of District 209 board member Claudia Medina — was among at least 300 hundred people from across the Chicago area who converged at OPRF’s main entrance before marching on sidewalks west down Lake Street in protest of a string of racist and anti-Semitic incidents that have happened at the school within the last two weeks.

Earlier this month, OPRF officials discovered racist and anti-Semitic graffiti found in bathroom stalls and on a shed near the high school’s tennis courts. Days before that incident, students said that they heard a white teacher say the n– word three times during class.

And on Friday, a student used Apple’s AirDrop feature to send the image of a swastika from somewhere in the high school’s auditorium to students’ cell phones during an assembly.

“I’m here in solidarity to support students who, like me, are Latino, black, Jewish and minorities, and who feel intimidated by symbols of racism,” Medina said, speaking to the large throng at OPRF’s main entrance.

“I don’t know how to describe the individual or individuals who sent these images of hatred,” Medina said. “There are simply no words for what they have done. These individuals who sent these images of hatred and white supremacy reflect a flaw in our community — that’s what that I am here to address.”

Anthony Clark, an OPRF teacher, community activist and former Congressional candidate, helped organize the march. Clark said that the students were leading the rally because “adults have failed them.”

“We’re here today because as adults we have failed our young people,” Clark said. “While they’re expending their emotional energy, which they should not have to do in 2018, think about what you are willing to risk as an adult to make change.”

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com 

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