Every year, Black History Month is celebrated during February. During Black History Month, Americans honor people who have helped the progression of black people’s rights towards equality. Here at BSM, the school honors this month in a variety of ways. Whether it is through artwork or spoken word, BSM strives to celebrate the diverse culture that Black History Month offers.
BSM looks for different ways to celebrate Black History Month. Ms. Shane Sisco, BSM’s Student Billing Specialist, took many months to plan everything for the celebration of Black History Month. “I’ve been working with Ms. Sisco the past few months to plan out this particular month because it’s so important to us,” junior Zip Kaffey said.
This year, during all morning announcements, a student read a passage honoring the life of an African American. “Ms. Sisco asked me and a few other people to write about five short biographies for important black people around the world,” junior Morgan Bettin-Coleman said.
Each of the readings offered different perspectives, ranging from adults to children who made an impact on black history. “I read one about Ruby Bridges and another about a black woman who played a role in the church,” Bettin-Coleman said.
Another way BSM honored Black History Month was with the artwork on the school’s windows. It featured drawings of honorable black people, Africa, and many other important themes of Black History Month. Sisco and other students created the artwork around the school.“I give so much props to [Sisco] because she spent endless hours setting up all the artwork around the school,” Kaffey said.
Also, a large banner hung outside the main entrance, which states: “BSM Honors Black History Month.” This banner, along with the artwork, was here for the entire month of February. “I like the banner in the front and how it related to the readings every week,” Kaffey said.
In addition, BSM was able to schedule two speakers to talk to students about their life experiences. The first speaker was Kevin Warren, COO of the Minnesota Vikings and father of BSM 2015 graduate Peri Warren. During his speech, Warren talked about overcoming obstacles to be where he is today. He also encouraged students to follow their dreams and to stay positive. “Don’t judge people by how they look, leave every situation better than it was when you got there, and love God,” Warren said.
The second speaker BSM hosted was Alan Page, former Vikings player and former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice. His presentation focused on how race played a role in his life experiences. In addition to this, he talked about the achievement gap in education and the mentoring of underprivileged children.
BSM has strived to include many aspects of celebrating the importance of Black History Month. However, there is still more that can be done throughout the year to acknowledge the importance of diversity. “I would like it if we could have more discussions about race in general at BSM, because it is a topic that is often ignored, belittled, or disregarded. I would also enjoy if more aspects of black culture were shared with the BSM community,” Bettin-Coleman said.
Overall, BSM honors Black History Month in many diverse ways. “To me, Black History Month is, or should be, about celebrating aspects of black culture, such as food, music, history, etc. I also think it’s about recognizing the importance of the hardships black people have faced throughout history,” Bettin-Coleman said.
Sisco was very pleased about the way Black History Month happened, but hopes that the BSM community will use the events for their lives in the future: “I hope that more people become more involved and see that there is a need to recognize that other cultures do exist. I hope they will integrate what they have learned into their classrooms,” Sisco said.