Black Student Union transforms Hawk Hall.


Natalie Roberts

The center of Hawk Hall is filled with posters displaying famous quotes, important people, and history for Black History month this February.

Isaiah Baudanza

As the school enters Black History Month in the 2020-2021 school year, the conversations around Black history, arts, and culture are undergoing a distinct change as a result of the harrowing displays of police brutality and civil unrest that occurred over the summer. The people creating this change are not singular leaders, but are rather groups aimed at creating unity around positive change in their environments, like the Black Student Union, spearheading change in Highland. 

“Our main goal is to uplift black voices and to educate and celebrate what we’ve accomplished,” says Carl Mitchell, a key member of the BSU. As part of the BSU’s activities to achieve those goals, members created posters for the hallways, tri-folds for the middle of hawk hall, and have even organized a jazz concert featuring Highland’s Jazz Band Black. “Jazz is black music…,” imparts Carl Mitchell, ”And, especially because we haven’t had concerts this year, it’s a really nice way to have some fun.” On the topic of the poster boards, acting president of the union Hanaan Abdule voices,  “There was a lot of research put into every single poster board because we wanted it to be concise yet impactful.” 

With these activities, the BSU hopes to create unity around celebrating Black History Month to the highest degree, changing reading lists to include Black authors and experiences, and getting departments to sign pledges that would contribute to a more sensitive learning environment — “like a pledge for teachers to not say the n-word.” Most importantly, the BSU is hoping to leave a legacy, not as a one-off celebration of black history, but as a continual force for positive change in the highland community.