JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida NFL YET center is a place of opportunity for more than 2,500 young people across Jacksonville.
During Black History Month, News4Jax spoke with children at the club about what they see and hear in their community, and how it makes them feel.
“I am still kind of mad over the George Floyd incident,” fifth-grader Gia’Vonnie said. “Even though it happened a long time ago.”
She said she felt like the death of Floyd, which sparked outrage and calls for racial justice, just wasn’t fair.
“I feel like my skin tone isn’t important. I am still human. I am still a girl,” Gia’Vonnie said. “Yes, I am Black, but it doesn’t matter. I am still me. Our skin color doesn’t define who we are, or what we bring to the table.”
Another child, San’Darius, also a fifth-grader, agreed.
“It doesn’t matter of our color. We’re all the same,” he said. “I am an African-American boy, and I am proud. I experienced somebody judging me when I was in the store.“
Kayiah, a sixth-grader, pointed out the unbalanced representation she sees in entertainment.
“You don’t see a lot of good things about African-Americans in TV,” she said. “It’s mostly like stuff about them being prosecuted, or crimes they have done, or the protests and stuff. It is rare to see something good about African-Americans on TV nowadays.”
She also shared a heart-wrenching personal memory.
“I was playing with one of my friends -- she was Caucasian. Her parents came and said, ‘Don’t ever talk to our daughter again,’ and she left,” Kayiah said.
When asked what she did next, Kayiah said she cried. She also told us that her hope for the world is for people to see people for who they are.
During Black History Month, Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida celebrated and honored the men and women who proved dreams can become a reality.
To help with that promise, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida donated $100,000 to organizations and schools across the state for technology. The clubs received 25 laptops.
The Boys and Girls Club offers a safe place for learning, activity and dialogue.
Annual memberships to the NFL YET Boys and Girls Club is $25 per child. It offers after-school programs and scholarship opportunities. For more information, click here.