Every February, Black History Month is celebrated by the MICDS community in a number of important ways. This year was no exception as the Black Student Union Executive Board got creative in honoring Black history with a variety of virtual and meaningful community-building experiences.
The overarching theme for the BSU 2021 Black History Month celebrations was “Lights in the Dark.” BSU Co-Head Téa Mitchell ’21 said, “With this theme, we want to learn where we came from, the history we may not have been taught in school, and celebrate blackness.” Activities included a movie night, game night, kickback, BSU co-head presentation, and many valuable discussions.
For the virtual movie night, Upper Schoolers watched Fruitvale Station which tells the story of the tragic shooting of Oscar Grant. Although this shooting took place over a decade ago, viewers were able to discuss its similarities to the recent events that took place last summer. During Activities Period last week, students played Black Jeopardy. Also, if you head over to the BSU Instagram account, you’ll learn more about Black inventors. Do you know about the three Black women who were critical to the United State’s first moon landing? What about how the 3D image was invented by Valerie Thomas? And did you know that nurse Marie Van Brittan Brown co-invented the home security system? Learn more at the MICDS Black Student Union Instagram account: @micdsbsu.
Black Student Union co-heads Mitchell and Najaah Muhammad ’21 also gave a virtual presentation on Black History Month during advisory on Wednesday. In their presentation, they talked about the different ways that the month has been celebrated in addition to reminding their peers that Black history is American history. They shared a few recommendations on Black-owned businesses to try:
- SweetArt – Known for its soul food, dessert, vegan cuisines in addition to its artwork by artist Cbabi Bayoc who visited the Beasley Lower School a few years ago and created a masterpiece which is on display in the Beasley Dining Hall.
- C. Oliver Coffee and Flower Bar in Maplewood has coffee, macaroons, and a flower wall that is the perfect backdrop for photos.
- Northwest Coffee in the Central West End is another coffeeshop favorite.
- Jerk Soul incorporates jerk chicken, a traditional Jamaican chicken dish, into all sorts of foods like quesadillas, Philly cheesesteaks, pizza, cheese fries, and more.
This week, the Black Student Union also hosted a virtual kickback. This offered a time where students could “‘chill’ together on Zoom and also have important conversations about social issues that have been going on within and outside of the Black community,” shared Mitchell.
Coinciding with Black History Month, Upper Schoolers additionally watched the annual Erik L. Bond ’77 lecture speaker which for this year was Mr. Jeff Rush ’92. Check out the presentation and recap here.
What does Black History Month mean to our students? Here are how some of our Upper Schoolers responded:
“For me, Black History Month is a recognition of the struggles of my predecessors and their contributions to this country: a heritage too often overlooked in our history. I often see the month as a mark of our progress as a country, but also room for growth.” ~Hasani Spann ’21
“What BHM means to me is that it’s the one month out of the year where Black history and blackness, in general, can be celebrated outside of slavery. It is a month to celebrate the amazing thing it is to be Black and to learn more about the history we are not taught in school.” ~Téa Mitchell ’21
“I would say that Black History Month is not about reminiscing on the past but is about recognizing black accomplishment so that generations to come can build on those achievements to make an equitable future for all.” ~Shawn Putman ’21
Thank you to all of our BSU Executive Board members for their work in coordinating this month’s Black History Month events at MICDS! Board members include Mitchell, Muhammad, Putman, Spann, Payton Shanks ’21, and Nanayaa Ashie-Winns ’21.