February 23, 2018
On February 9 at 12:30, the Black Student Union presented their annual assembly with the theme of “Black Excellence.” Also, for the first time, the BSU will perform the assembly after school for parents and the community.
“I hope the students take away whatever stigmas they formed about black people and learned that we come from a beautiful, creative, excelling, and hard working group of people and the current generations have not lost their magic.”, BSU member and assembly participant Kianna Melvin said.
The show kicked off with a singing of the Negro National Anthem, the classic spiritual “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Then, the president Amel Jones welcomed everyone and introduced the officers, giving a brief overview of Black History Month.
According to History.com, in 1926, Carter G. Woodson founded Black History Month originally as Negro History Week, chosen as the week in which Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass celebrated their birthdays. By 1976, it had evolved into the month-long nationally respected celebration that we know today.
Alexandra Hargrett and Sophia Merkowitz presented their poem “Unmoveable.”, about how people who are fighting for civil rights cannot be moved by disapproval or violence. Then, the main event: a video carefully created by the BSU, featuring AHS students and staff answering the question: “What does Black Excellence mean to YOU?”
Ms. Petty, the BSU advisor, said that she hoped this would “encourage, enlighten, educate, and empower” students.
After this, a PowerPoint presented to the student body highlighted the achievements of African Americans, and the story of Black Wall Street, home to many African-American businesses and a 1921 race riot.
To further highlight African American achievements, many young women walked across the stage, taking on the personas of various African-American women, such as Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space and Condoleeza Rice, the first female African-American Secretary of State.
The Alpha Achievers dazzled the crowd with a carefully synchronized dance routine.
Before the BSU took the stage dancing in various routines, Amel Jones and Christina Alemayehu performed an interactive poem, describing the realities of police violence to the audience.
Jones reiterated that the purpose of the assembly, and her act in particular, was for “people to be aware of what’s going on in society right now.”
Melvin agreed.“The assembly is for educating the school of black people’s history and current events, also entertaining them by showcasing our members’ talents,” she said.
While the BSU has been celebrating the event for over 5 years now, it has now become a fixture in the Atholton community.
“My plans are to reach out to the students and identify their talents, strengths and
weaknesses,” Ms. Petty said, assuring that the assembly will continue to inspire and enlighten students for years to come.
During the assembly, the audience cheered and chanted as the various acts took the stage, but the participants were not merely going through the motions, they lived the message they were bringing to the students and staff.
“If anything, I pray that our students are inspired!” Ms. Petty said. “I want them to experience and witness what makes us all special, unique, and exceptional!”