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One America - Students Against Racism Organization

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One America

Program: Students Against Racism Organization, Great Neck, NY
Contact(s): Alexander Crisses, Director: (516) 487-9783
Purpose: To create greater harmony and acceptance among high school students of different races through interaction and dialogue

Background Program Operations Outcomes


After Alexander Crisses, a junior at John L. Miller Great Neck North High School, won a Peace Essay Contest in fall 1997 with an essay titled, "World Peace Begins With Me," he knew that he wanted to create a program that would work to reduce prejudice among high school students. Soon afterwards, a series of racially motivated acts against Hispanic, African American and Jewish students at the high school led Crisses to formerly develop the Students Against Racism Organization (STAR). The dialogue and instructions facilitated by the STAR program allows students to actively participate in the fight against racism.

Program Operations

In STAR, school seniors deliver presentations and lead discussions in high school classes about racism and how to take an active role against racism. Along with weekly meetings after school, seniors in the STAR program conduct workshops and seminars throughout the week for groups of about 30 students at a time. They also visit classes on Wednesday mornings during homeroom period, in an effort to reach out to more students. Although there is a set outline for the STAR program, each group of students may re-adapt the standard presentation and add activities to make STAR's program more effective for them. Every group leader participates in a mandatory six hours of training to give them a full understanding of how to facilitate conversations on racism and race relations.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

On April 24, 1998, STAR sponsored "Racism Reachout Day," a program featuring group discussions and workshops on racial intolerance. Seventy-eight students who were selected and trained by STAR, speakers from the Office of the New York State Attorney General and the entire student body--920 students--participated. In addition, the STAR program is combining with the Peer Leadership Program at Great Neck North in order to reach a broader range of students at a younger age.

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