Black History: Student’s input means everything

Jessye Greene

For the past 94 years, February is the chosen month to celebrate Black people and all of the wonderful things that we have brought into the world. At this year’s event, the school hoped to have a more cohesive event and took steps to ensure that it was indeed.
The Black History month event took place on February 19th 2020. This years event is considered by many to be a success. Sean Sawyer, Vice principal, explains how he feels the event went.
“I think black history day went well,” said Sawyer. “We had a good selection of presentators that I think our students learned from.”
Last year’s Black history day event caused quite a stir due to the lack of sensitivity displayed by a few presenters and the lack of knowledge on their chosen topic. This year the administration decided to invoke students participation. The students added their creativity to the event from its inception.
“There were some students who were part of meetings and gave their input,” said Sawyer. “I hope next year more students will be there to contribute.”
Students had access to all the planning meetings after school and the student council also helped put the event together. Ineesha Hill, president of the student council, provides details on how they were involved.
“We had multiple meetings and met with Tip and staff to discuss the things that we wanted to do that day,” said Hill. “Students were invited to come to the meetings, but I don’t recall any being there. However, the student council did attend each meeting.”
Clarence ‘Coach C’ Collins, mentor at UACHS, expresses how the Black history day event was a success due to early planning.
“Last year things were put together at the last minute, but this year Tip installed more meetings early in the year,” said Collins. “Everything presented was planned and we were able to get on people’s calendars; that’s why I think it went so well.” Collins was part of the planning process from beginning to end.
“I was in charge of reaching out to the people who would fit the theme, to MC the event with Tip and take photos,” said Collins.
While the day was successful for most, many like junior Adrianna Roberts feel that the event was better than last year’s, but still boring.
“I didn’t like the fact that we watched a movie, I didn’t understand the point of that. The teachers didn’t have any valuable comments to say about black history day,” said Roberts.
Administration and students who were a part of the committee put together a poll to see what movie the majority of students wanted to watch to kick off the event. The winners were Fruitvale Station and The Pursuit of Happyness.
To keep the schedule flowing we suggested that a movie be played for the students who were not at the wax figure scavenger hunt,” said Hill. “A lot of students on the second floor did vote on the poll.”
This year students got the opportunity to dress down with a few restrictions. Students had the option to either wear all black or African attire for Black history day.
“Wearing all black symbolized black unity, like the black panthers in a way,” said Collins.
While reflecting on the overall day, Roberts thought up some pointers that would help make the Black history celebration better next year.
“ I think next year there should be more young speakers, and maybe include Sawyer’s wife Tia to do the African dances,” said Roberts. “Stuff like that and the Wax figures will make it more fun and interactive next year.”
Towards the end of the celebration, one of the panelists Kabili Tayari, former Jersey City Deputy Mayor, was asked what black history meant to him.
“So, what does black history mean? It means everything,” said Kabili Tayari.
UACHS intends to celebrate Black history day for many years to come and it’s obvious that the more input students give, the more successful the event will be.

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