Video: Dallas Teens Talk McKinney

By Sameer Rao Jun 12, 2015

At the Black Academy of Arts and Letters summer camp, where Dallas teens meet to learn about singing and musicianship, founder and president Curtis King is taking on a second role: counselor. In his camp of nearly 470 children, students are using music to wrestle with the difficulty of the McKinney police violence. 

The Dallas Morning News put together a powerful video from one of these camp’s sessions, where several program participants address the way that McKinney has affected them personally. Says one young woman, whose words are backgrounded by a camp chorus singing R. Kelly’s "I Believe I Can Fly": 

"I felt that it gives a wrong image of police officers in general, and that whenever you see one, you want to run and hide, and try to avoid them, when their job is to protect and they’re doing the opposite…

"I think police officers should just remember that the majority of them have kids themselves, and they wouldn’t want any other person to abuse- basically abuse their children and get away with it. They’re really hurting someone’s children." 

The heralded Black Academy of Arts and Letters was founded by King, a Mississippi native, in 1977 to promote and highlight black artistic accomplishments. All of the young women who spoke in the video are black. 

Click above to see the video, and click here to read the Morning News’s full accompanying article.