Filled with thought provoking poems, dances, and demonstrations, the Black Student Union presented their annual Black History Month assembly on February 12. With special performances from Seniors Ashanti Malcolm-Bates and Aaliyah Phillips, Junior Jahmari Oliver-Bigby, and Sophomores Gianna Depina Nazoliny and Raneem Abu-Hasan, this year’s Black History Month assembly was surely not one to miss.
METCO director La Toya Rivers shared that February serves as a special time for celebration.
“I feel Black History is history and should be recognized all year long as all other aspects of history are,” Rivers said. “That being said; I view the month as the most accepted time for others to allow for a public expression and celebration of the Black and African American History, culture and experience.”
Sophomore Raneem Abu-Hasan, a member of the dance group, echoed the idea of black history celebrations extending beyond one month.
“Although I am not black, Black History Month means a lot to me because it’s a period of time where we celebrate the importance of black culture and history. I do not feel like it should be a month, but should always be celebrated and brought up,” Abu-Hasan said.
Rivers advocated that all students enrich their education through studying culture.
“I think this is equally important for all students to learn about the contributions of others and not just those who look like them,” Rivers said. “It helps to build compassion, empathy and mutual respect.”
Rivers emphasized that the Black History Month assembly only spreads positivity and culture and is in no way meant to degrade others.
“Discomfort for growth is acceptable, disrespect never is; our assembly is about promoting the positives of our culture while taking nothing away from any other,” Rivers said.’
Sophomore Gianna Delpina Nazoliny voiced how Black History Month is important to her for showing that black is more than just a color.
“I feel like the Black History Month assembly is finally our chance to show people that black is just not a color, that there’s culture, that there’s culture that comes with it and not only African Americans, [but] other oppressed groups such as the LGBTQ community and a bunch of different communities that have been discriminated against in the past.”
Beyond the assembly, Rivers hopes that students and faculty find inspiration and engage in celebrating all cultures.
“I hope that the assembly promotes thought provoking dialogue and encourages those in attendance to not only look deeper into Black History and culture, but to feel inspired to look into, share and celebrate their own especially if they do not feel they see it represented,” Rivers said.
Echoing Rivers’s aspirations, Abu-Hasan voiced her hopes for the future.
“I hope that students and faculty will be able to be more open-minded and accepting of diversity within the black community but with other minorities as well,”Abu-Hasan said.