Varsity Basketball Coach, Daryl Thomas, invited by Campus Minister, Mr. Michael Blanchette, visited Social Justice classes (on Monday, December 11th) to conduct an open discussion about race relations in America. Thomas, who attended St. Joseph High School in Westchester, was a member of the 1987 National Champion Indiana Hoosiers. He joined the Montini Catholic family in 2015.
"The real lessons we learn come from our life experiences," said Thomas, who grew up on the west side of Chicago. "When you're young, all you know is what you are exposed to. I grew up in an all black neighborhood - I didn't know anything else." It wasn't until he would visit his grandparents in Alabama as a child, over the summers, that Thomas said he was exposed to racial tensions.
His parents grew up in Opelika, Alabama during a time of civil unrest in America. "My grandparents lived in even tougher times, when they couldn't drink from the same water fountains as whites," he told the students.
"Despite their experiences, however, my parents taught me to treat people how I want to be treated," said Thomas. "Actually they taught me to treat people 'better' than they may treat me - you will never fail in doing that."
He shared his own experiences with racism with the students before opening up the floor to questions and discussion.