BSU implements special events for Black History Month

Students participating in the fashion show present their cultural clothing at African Diaspora Night on Feb. 21. (Photo permission granted by Christian Grimes)
Students participating in the fashion show present their cultural clothing at African Diaspora Night on Feb. 21. (Photo permission granted by Christian Grimes)

The chilly month of February is known for the Super Bowl, for Valentines Day, and for being the only 28-day long month in our calendar. It is also the time when Black History Month occurs. According to the Library of Congress, the origins of Black History Month can be traced back to 1926, when historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson “initiated the first Negro History Week in February” of that year through his organization, which is referred today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Finally, in 1975, President Gerald Ford officially recognized its importance and validity.

Seniors Lewhat Kahsay and Meilani Wilson perform a dance together on stage as part of the event. (Courtesy of Christian Grimes)

As such, in commemoration of the Holiday, the RM Black Student Union prepared a jam-packed month-long list of in-school activities befitting of the celebration.

Firstly, the BSU hosted a Spirit Week, spanning from Motherland Monday (in which students wore African clothing) to HBCU Gear Thursday and Blackout Friday. Other events included a cultural and historical showcase at the Feb. 12 RM International Night, movies on Friday at the auditorium, a Black History Banner competition, and RMBC videos about the history and accomplishments of influential African Americans.

In addition, the BSU held an African Diaspora Night on Feb. 21. The event featured a fashion show, a cultural food showcase and—similarly to International Night—students of African descent created trifolds that presented information about different African countries. 

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The BSU, founded by 2020 RM alum Emnet Kahsay, is currently led by seniors Meilani Wilson and Udy Mbanaso. Algebra teacher Michelle Griffin-Carter is the sponsor. Besides hosting BHM events, the BSU also meets up regularly on Tuesday in room 210. 

Tuesday meetings have lately been spent on preparing for the various BHM events. Most of the focus has been on publicization and spreading awareness about the BSU’s plans for the month. “Hopefully we can have a fun meeting when all this is over because it’s kind of rigorous,” Mbanaso said. 

BSU Leadership pose together to bow as the cultural fashion show event comes to a close. (Courtesy of Christian Grimes)

Generally, when the BSU isn’t organizing special events or preparing for Holidays, their Tuesday meetings are more discussion-oriented. “We discuss issues that are happening within our school community and how we can come together, bring other people in to solve a lot of the issues that students may be facing,” Mrs. Griffin-Carter said. 

With Black History Month almost over, it’s easy to overlook how important clubs such as the BSU are in promoting diversity at RM. In truth, it is groups such as these that make minorities feel like they belong. “It’s really bringing everyone together,” Mbanaso said.


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