Students participate in Black History Month presentation

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Haley Hewitson

BSM students performed speeches in front of classmates.

Flint Frohman, Staff Writer

On Tuesday the 25, there were a number of speeches given in the atrium in honor of Black History Month, given by Richard Norman, Breah Banks, Sophie Coleman, Noah Layton, Maliah Jaiteh, and organized by Ms. Maura Brew.

The speeches covered a broad range of topics and many drew from personal experience. There was a theme of bringing issues that would be unknown to the audience into the spotlight and helping the audience to understand racism and how it affects its victims. “I always want to pick something meaningful and relevant in today’s society,” Banks said. 

A few of the topics spoken on were the education gap, gun violence, racism, and being biracial. “These are all important messages that the students need to hear…students have a greater impact on their peers than teachers will,” Brew said.

These are all important messages that the students need to hear…students have a greater impact on their peers than teachers will.”

— Maura Brew

All the speeches covered a variety of issues. One of Jaiteh’s speeches and Coleman’s speech were originals; the rest of the group shared poems and books. Jaiteh shared poetry about violence and how it affects the communities that it occurs in. She wanted to cover topics that not many know about, like how African American mothers are 3-4 times more likely to die during childbirth. Layton’s piece discussed a strange stigma in the African American community about mental health and intended to shine a light on it. Norman spoke about gun violence in the black community; he presented a poem from the book Long Way Down about “The Rules.” In it, a deeper meaning and code of conduct about violence is described and how it is passed down through the main character’s family. It helps to show what a family goes through with gun violence. 

Coleman was nervous about getting up in front of a crowd, sharing her own work, and being vulnerable to people. Her piece discussed different racist experiences that she grew up with, and originally, it was an essay for AP Composition. The idea was to make people understand the long-lasting effects that racism can have on its victims and her experience with it personally. “People don’t understand the effect their racism can have on others,” Coleman said.

These speeches have been the school’s main event to discuss Black History Month and were directed at the greatest amount of people. “The response we have gotten has been generally positive,” Coleman said.