Without Roc 2 Change, Kidest Yigezu says she likely would have dropped out of her AP classes.

“I am often times the only black person in the room and it has made me feel I need to sit in the background,” said Yigezu.

Yigezu says she’s been called the n-word in class and has been made to feel undeserving of her place in AP classes because of her race.

“To have Roc 2 Change for me helps me understand I’m not crazy and other people feel it too and it gives me the power to go back to my school and say no that’s right and what I feel matters, and you will listen to me.”

Seeing other students like her friend Carmen Ortiz go through the same thing as a woman of color, and a woman of color in STEM, they have shared experiences.

“It just puts me in an awkward place to be five out of twenty that’s women and three out of twenty that are people of color,” said Ortiz.

That need for students of color to feel acknowledged and understood is why the event has taken off in the past few years.

“I think it’s more important than ever in today’s society with so much division to see the students come together to support one another any time we can do that it’s worthwhile,” said Chris Kantz, an English teacher at Brighton CSD.