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South LA students celebrate Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' characters

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The death of renowned author Harper Lee does not quiet the characters she leaves behind in "To Kill A Mockingbird."

The death of renowned author Harper Lee does not quiet the characters she leaves behind in "To Kill A Mockingbird."

Far from Depression era Alabama, their voices resonate in Ms. Ho's 8th grade English class in South Los Angeles.

"I learned that no matter what other people say you should do the right thing," Kristina Medina, 14, said.

Outside of the public charter school Synergy Academy, there are aging homes, truck traffic and walls sprayed with graffiti. The book transports the Latino teens to a racially divided town in the 1930s where the characters speak to them.

"Atticus, the father, actually says, 'You don't really know a person until you climb into their skin and walk around,'" Joshua Manzo said.

The book's central character, Scout, inspires the girls.

"She has like a little tough side so no matter what if someone gets in her way she will try to go, she will try to fight for anyone," Crystal Martinez said.

They discuss the mature themes in the book: bigotry, rape, suicide and character.

They reflect on the power of writing. Harper Lee influenced them with her words. When asked if they would like to write a story too, the entire group raised their hands.

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educationbooksfamous deathSouth Los AngelesLos Angeles
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