ST. LOUIS – Not unlike many recent high school graduates, Victoria Neal is spending her summer thinking about the future.
However, this Ladue High School grad’s future doesn’t just include furthering her education. She’s been busy leading protests and helping start conversations that can lead to change.
Neal and several other teenagers helped organize a march that shut down a stretch of Clayton Road back in June. Neal says she was hoping for about 100 people to show up and was shocked when the crowd grew to nearly 1,000.
She also organized one for Lindbergh Blvd. She says she targeted that well-known road because it winds through many communities of varying socioeconomic levels.
“Your high school shouldn’t decide everything about you,” said Neal during her interview with FOX2now.
While that is a common question asked in St. Louis, Neal says there shouldn’t be racial divides based on where you live in St. Louis.
For most of her life, Neal attended school in Ladue. However, growing up with divorce parents, she split her time between Ladue and North County. Neal says she always saw both sides of the spectrum.
“When I was feeling pain in North County or when Mike Brown was shot, I realized people in Ladue didn’t have to focus on it. They could just avoid it, and we did,” said Neal.
She explained they may have discussed it in class for a few days, but it was a constant topic of discussion when she would visit her family in North County.
After the death of George Floyd, Neal says students came up to her and asked what they could do. They also wanted to know how they could start these difficult conversations with their families.
Neal created the group “Speaking Truth to Power STL“. She says her goal is to start conversations and take the concerns to the people how can affect change.
“You can’t change someone’s opinion from an uninformed position. So as long as you are informed and spreading what you know, that is all you can do,” said Neal.