Across all of the campuses this month, students, faculty, and staff marked Black History Month with assemblies to celebrate Black joy, history, and community at BB&N. These gatherings happened throughout the month and involved collaboration with students and staff across the three campuses.
The Upper School kicked off the assemblies on February 8th. The event featured a panel of students from all grades, a speech from Jack Hill, an Upper School History teacher and the founder of the National Anti-Racism Teach-In, and a building-shaking rendition of “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone performed by a student jazz band. The panel reflected on their journey to BB&N and shared occasions where they felt supported and welcomed by the community. One quote from Mr. Hill’s speech that comes from poet Audre Lorde perfectly encapsulates the event, “if I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive”.
Toward the end of the month, both the Lower School and Middle School hosted their assemblies. At the Lower School, grades B-6 took the opportunity to present knowledge they learned in classes about Black history through the lens of nature. From student-made windmills based on the work of inventor William Kamkwamba to renditions of songs inspired by civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, students and teachers alike gathered to learn and celebrate Black changemakers of the past, present, and future.
The Middle School also hosted celebrations during their community activity block (CAB), focusing on the motif of Black Joy, which builds upon this year’s official theme of “Black Resistance,” which explores the ways that African Americans have challenged and still face oppression in the U.S. For half of the time, students listened to a panel of Upper School students talk about their experiences at BB&N and how they define Black Joy. The other portion featured art and a talk from former Lower School art teacher Iman Solomon about his life experiences.
Black History Month is an opportunity for the BB&N community to highlight one of the many cultures present across all grade levels, but the learning and appreciation don’t stop on March 1st. There are numerous affinity and interest groups for students and parents at BB&N. In addition, the DEIG office continues to educate and plan opportunities to share and honor the cultures represented at the school, including the return of One School One World in May.
Click here for a gallery of the assemblies.