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Student journalists can change the world.

They can start in their school and their community. Students can write stories that no one else can tell.

Anyone with an interest can learn to be a student journalist, and all students are invited to take a journalism class.

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The Classes

(1 semester)

  • Develop skills in reporting,  writing, editing, photography, design and social media

  • Connect with your community

  • Express the voice of students

(1 semester or full year)

  • Become an highly-skilled journalist

  • Help shape the The Eastside Panther

  • Take charge of a section of the paper

(full year)

  • Become an expert journalist

  • Manage your peers and guide major decisions

We publish a print paper and run a lively Instagram account (@theeastsidepanther)



By Sarai Wagner

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Marching against brutality brings meaning, power and hope

      On June 6, I went with friends and family to participate in a peaceful march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the protest against police brutality in my home city, Hayward. 

       I didn’t really know what to expect: It was supposed to be a peaceful protest, but over the preceding months, I had seen how peace can be disrupted. Regardless, I was adamant about going because it was very unsettling to just sit at home when I could be using my voice and body to fight the police brutality that has plagued this country, and honestly makes me sick to my stomach. 

        The protest that day began at Hayward City Hall with speakers sharing powerful speeches and poems. They described the police structure as corrupt and demanded an end to the murder of black people. I could relate easily to their words: As a black teenager, I have seen too many videos of people who look like me being targeted by people with more power. I have felt fear when encountering the police more times than I have felt safe. Some days, when a family member leaves my house, I find myself randomly worrying about how they may not make it to their destination because they might be targeted because of their skin. 

       After the speeches, the march proceeded from City Hall to the Hayward police department. We walked through streets that I have driven through countless times. We chanted phrases that had quickly become familiar -- “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police”, “Say His Name: George Floyd”, “Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor”, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” People held their signs high, people held their fists high, all of us yelled together. 

Drivers driving in the opposite direction honked in support. I felt my community come together, not just Black people, but Asian, white and Latinx people. It was extremely unifying. 

      Recently, I have seen this kind of support a lot, with people from all around the country and around the world standing together with Black Lives Matter. I have felt support from friends expressing their outrage on social media, and spreading awareness. It’s honestly a beautiful thing to witness people coming together.  

         When we reached the police station, we took a knee at the intersection. A new set of speakers took the microphone, and this time they emphasized the people in my community who were victims of police brutality. I became familiar with a new name, Augustin “Augie” Gonsalez, a 29-year-old father of two who was shot to death by two Hayward policemen in November. One speaker talked about her brother, who is constantly harassed by police for his felony probation, which they “hang over his head like a noose.” Speakers said the police are supposed to protect the community, but instead they view it as their enemies and become our oppressors. They commit crimes against the community and go unpunished, while residents have to fight to demand simple justice.

        One speaker addressed the idea that police brutality is a matter of a few “bad apples”. She gave a perfect analogy, saying “bad apples” stem from “rotten trees”, and the rotten tree in this case is the institutional white supremacy and racial  discrimination  that  existed at  the foundation of the

police and still holds today. The police were  founded  to  “serve and protect”

white and wealthy communities, and part of the way they do that is by targeting and terrorizing communities of color. 

       By this point, about 100 people had gathered, and we headed back to City Hall. We walked together and chanted, as we had on the walk to the station.  The truck that led the protestors stopped right in front of Winton Middle School and began blasting multiple “anti-cop, anti-Trump” songs. We took a break to sing and dance together, and the group felt the strongest and most solid in those moments.

       At just about that time, I suddenly realized that no local media were there to cover this peaceful, meaningful protest. I had seen many reports on news sources about protests in the previous weeks, yet most of them emphasized looting and “rioting” rather than the peaceful parts of the movement. It’s beyond frustrating, yet true, that in order for voices to be heard, glass needs to be shattered. That’s what it took for President Trump to acknowledge us, that’s what it took for the nation to turn all eyes to this movement. There have been peaceful protests for years and years, and no one had paid attention to the injustice, but now we have everyone's attention. 

      I started to think: Maybe if the media had been covering the peaceful protests from the beginning the way that they are now, things might be different? I want to work as a journalist when I’m older, so I pay attention to the impacts of the media and the ways it can help change society.  That’s why it has become so important to draw media attention: Tactics of the past weren’t working, so protesters had to adopt new methods to wake everyone up. 

    As we continued our march back to City Hall, we passed under an overpass and began to chant, “I can’t breathe.” Our voices echoed loudly as we chanted. Knowing those were the last words of George Floyd and other victims of police brutality and racial discrimination, I found myself becoming angrier and louder each time I yelled those words. I had to blink a few times to keep my eyes from watering. George Floyd died in a horrific way, and I saw the video clip; I will never forget it. 

    About five minutes from our destination, a BART train passed us. Protesters turned and held up their signs and their fists for people on the train to see. I think about how those passengers may have felt, seeing so many people stand together in solidarity for Black Lives Matter and against police brutality. I hope they felt empowered and ready to make a change. 

        It’s now the end of July, and I hear less about protests, I see fewer people posting about victims of police brutality. People’s social media feeds are returning to how they looked in early May. I encourage teachers, students, parents, or anyone who reads this to continue to use your voices and your platforms to talk about injustices. Performative activism is not helpful at all, the only thing it benefits is your reputation. Continue to link people to petitions. If you are able to donate, do it. If you can protest, go out and march! Send emails to government officials. The point is, get your voices heard. To some people, Black Lives Matter might have just been a slogan or a fad, but to me and all the other black people, this is a fight for our lives. 


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