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The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

Black Student Union calls for remembrance of black trailblazers

McLean’s BSU displays the contribution of Africans Americans in honor of Black History Month
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Sarah Soltani
A Black History Month display was set up by BSU members in the blue hall in advance of February.

In a vibrant display of unity and recognition, McLean’s Black Student Union (BSU) took the initiative to commemorate Black History Month by adorning the board in the blue hallway with inspiring images of black icons, serving as a powerful reminder of the invaluable contributions made by African Americans throughout history.

“The union wanted to [display] people that had experiences with conflicts surrounding being black in the American system,” said Kaiya Williams, President of the BSU. “It was very important that we chose people throughout all walks of life from sports to music to the civil rights era.”

The board, strategically placed in a high-traffic area of the school, features a carefully curated selection of photographs and informational snippets highlighting the achievements and impacts of various black figures to society.

“What I find the most sad about this board is the fact that we couldn’t put everyone on it,” Williams said. “People like Henrietta Lacks, a forgotten revolutionary whose cancer cells altered the world of medicine, are so dear to me, especially since her story, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, was mandatory in my AP English Language and Composition Class. There are so many more forgotten icons that we unfortunately didn’t put, but I definitely think that [the current display of people] is a solid lineup because of how widespread their influence is.”

The project has already sparked positive reactions among students and faculty. Many have taken the time to explore the board, engaging in conversations about the individuals featured and the broader significance of Black History Month.

“The board is meant as a commemoration of all the most important black figures throughout time,” Williams said. “Some poets, musicians, and athletes, were nevertheless, icons that revolutionized their field of expertise. They broke racial barriers and leveled the playing field so black people would have a chance to do the same thing the white people could do. This board is a remembrance of all the important things they did that changed our nation.”

This board is a remembrance of all the important things [African Americans] did that changed our nation.”

— Kaiya Williams

This project is only the first of many more events that BSU has planned for Black History Month. The union will be organizing educational posts on Instagram about important figures and events significant to the African American experience. They will also continue the tradition of painting the rock and decorating a showcase in the library. Furthermore, the union will be having a joint cookout at Langley High School to observe and honor the significance of the month.

“This will be our first time doing [a joint celebration] so it’ll be very fun,” Williams said. “This will be a very packed month [for the club], but I can’t wait.”

As Black History Month unfolds, BSU encourages the school community to bring the stories of black icons to the forefront and to work towards a more inclusive future.

“I hope people realize that it is really important that these [icons] are remembered because during their time, it wasn’t right to exist in the same light as a white person. They had so much hate and resistance thrown toward them,” Williams said. “Their contributions might have been seen as dangerous and even extreme by the public. Their risk only shows that it is possible for us, as a community, to change and adapt to include people of all backgrounds.”

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