HARRIS HEROES

Harris' Heroes: Alexandria teen launches Real Talk forum

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ANNANDALE, Va. (WJLA) - At Annandale High School, diversity is the norm. That's one of the reasons Omnia Saed, a senior, chose to host a panel for students to discuss race.

"We're often perceived as a generation of ignorance," said Saed. "But one thing I realized is we don't actually have funnel or conduit for us to actually speak our minds."

Two years ago, she launched Real-Talk, on online forum and radio broadcast for teens. It has evolved into panels where teens share their thoughts on important topics, including religion and race.

"Teenagers do want to talk, no matter their background, no matter the context," said Saed. "You just have to give them the room to."

The teens discuss personal experiences and stereotypes that bother them.

"Everyone asks 'oh do you like eating curry?'," explained Lailumah Faisao, a 17-year old senior at Annandale High School. "Just because I'm brown does not mean I like a certain thing. In fact, I actually hate it."

By speaking their minds, they say other teens will be encouraged to do the same - resulting in a more engaged and informed generation.

"We do know something, we do have important opinions," said student Megan Ryan. "And we do really want to talk about it."

Saed is hoping to spread Real Talk to other local schools and eventually to schools across the country.

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