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On Wednesday morning, students from Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda high schools visited the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center to learn about modern injustices that stems from slavery.
The Niagara Falls City School District is in the process of creating a range of different "culturally responsive" learning opportunities.
"We wanted to create a range of different learning environments targeting different audiences within the schools to forge a deeper understanding of different cultures and ethnicities," Superintendent Mark Laurie said. “The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center in Niagara Falls is a great starting point to connect our history with present injustices."
Sam Heim, a North Tonawanda High School student, said, "This tour had a great effect on me. I am probably going to be thinking about this for the rest of the day.”
Classmate Chelsea Murphy said, "It was a bit awkward today, but I sometimes think you need to be in an awkward position for change to happen. So, it was good to see, and I hope everybody learned something from this tour.”
Samika Sullivan, a parent of one of Niagara Falls High School students visiting the museum, said, “The only way we’re going to move forward is when we educate ourselves, and we educate other people.”
Niagara Falls Underground Heritage Center Visitor Experience Specialist Jasiah Jackson said, "This was super beautiful to see all these kids coming together. Our power is in the youth, and we need to empower them to push us forward away from ignorance.”
The mission of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center is to reveal authentic stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and abolitionists in Niagara Falls, and to inspire visitors to recognize modern injustices that stem from slavery and to take action toward an equitable society. The Heritage Center is an experiential museum that operates every Thursday through Sunday during the winter. It offers self-guided tours, facilitated guided tours, school field trips, and numerous public programs throughout the year.