On February 21 Student Voices led a Black History Month assembly designed to “talk more about why this month exists, how it is celebrated, why it is important, as well as the concerns that activists and community members have over its celebration.”
They also wanted to inspire additional work by the Westridge community. “Although we want to do our best to give you an insight into all perspectives surrounding Black History month…we want to make it clear that as a community, we should work toward offering a more inclusive curriculum, one that includes for example, Black History and the present-day Black experience,” said Caroline P. ’20.
The assembly began with a history of Black History Month and addressed public questioning of the ongoing necessity of the month, stating the “imperative need for representation and that need still exists today.”
The presentation shifted to calls nationally for an expanded view of black history, especially in school curricula, that reaches beyond the most celebrated individuals and after the civil rights era. And students highlighted the more recent Black Futures Month, which occurs in conjunction with Black History Month but envisions the futures of black people and brings attention to current issues as well as members of the black community making history today.
The assembly ended with comments from the co-heads of the Black Student Union.
“This month is the starting point to recognition all year long… But by allowing one to be in the spotlight for one month you are allowing new and sometimes unknown stories to be told,” said Deijah B. ’19. “Black history month, although not outright celebrated at Westridge, is still a very powerful and important month for the community.”
Students organized a follow-up lunchtime discussion for Upper School students and offered to partner interested Middle School students with Upper School students to talk about ideas and thoughts following the assembly.