Black History Month, what does it mean, what does it symbolize? Even though our school does a good job at discussing black history in our history classes, celebrating Black History Month needs to be more visible and prominent to the attending students.
As a member of the African American minority here at Red Lion, Black History Month symbolizes that minorities have a chance to receive recognition. It symbolizes their heritage is worth being acknowledged and celebrated.
As a whole, our school should take pride in Black History Month because it shows students that our community and country has come a long way in how minorities are treated and respected, thanks to the Civil Rights Movement.
When asked how Red Lion celebrates black history month, social studies teacher Mr. Jay Vasellas, who has his Master degree in African American history, responded, “We don’t exactly have just one time to acknowledge black history month, we teach black history your freshman year to sort of set the foundation. And it is reinforced throughout your high school career. We also have elective classes students can take such as History of Modern America.”
So, the main thing is that students want to see a Black History month shown just as much excitement and school spirit as something as simple as the next upcoming basketball game. It helps the African American minority feel just as supported.
Recently, a few changes have been made to honor Black History Month. One is a segment on the morning announcements, spotlighting a prominent African American figure. Another idea is a lesson on Black History Month during PRIDE. Teaching a lesson is a good way to get the full attention of students and to make them aware of the subject.
Mr. Vasellas and many other teachers have been a big help in the recent changes that have been made. “What we are doing is both trying to honor Black History Month, but also incorporate it into the fabric of what we are teaching so that it’s not just for our black students but for ALL students.”
Several Red Lion students have their own ideas about how to increase awareness of black history month within the student body.
“Red Lion should recognize Black History Month and also acknowledge some of the Spanish holidays too--give the minority groups a chance to be noticed. Also it would be nice if we had a spirit week either during the first or the last month of February, to get the students and staff involved,” Junior Gloria Maldonado said.
“We should acknowledge someone historic or famous every day of the month and include trivia for the students, whoever gets the trivia right gets a pride ticket!” Junior Jessica Lewis said.
Other ways to increase awareness are posters of African American icons who have impacted the world in their fight for freedom and rights. There are so many African American historical figures that are worth knowing. These are just things that would help add more acknowledgment and recognition on an event that matters.
Black History Month should be a time of the year that everyone can get involved and everyone can get something out of it. This isn’t just important for the African American Community but for other people too, it’s a reminder that change can happen.