Annika Fuhrer and Elijah Trannon have been friends longer than either one can remember.
In fact, NCTV17 was there ten years ago to capture their first day of kindergarten.
“I used to go over to her house every day after school,” said Elijah.
The pair are now going in to their junior year at Naperville Central and have taken an interest in social justice.
Elijah has been a prominent leader during recent protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, and Annika has been there to support him each time.
“She helped me lead and keep everyone together, and basically was just there if we needed something we could get it done together,” said Elijah.
“I’m there and I want to say something and I want to try to be a leader but it’s more important for me to let other people speak and let other people share their experiences,” said Annika.
Understanding Others’ Perspectives
They both say it’s important to have a diverse group of friends to understand others’ perspectives. And as they’ve gotten older, they’ve started noticing differences in how the other is treated.
“I notice that he either shares stories with me or I can see that he’s just treated differently,” said Annika.
“There’s small things like if I’m in a group of friends walking in the hallway I’ve been asked, ‘Oh where are you going?’ or ‘Can I see your ID?’ Just me out of the group of mostly white people,” said Elijah.
Annika said she knows she won’t experience racism like Elijah does, but that makes it all the more important to sit down and learn from each other.
“I think he has experiences and I have experiences and I help and we helped learn from each other and grow off each other and know where the other person is coming from,” said Annika.
Continuing conversations and speaking out against injustice is something they’re both hopeful can spark change in others, to grow more friendships like theirs.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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