VIDEO: Black History Month Presentation celebrates Black resistance

Assembly featured contributions from students and community members.

Nate Anderson '23, Sylvan Prey-Harbaugh '23, Ben Holtman '23, Hugo Rodgers '23, Callie Susek '24, and Christian Donohue '24

Julia Gray '23, Editor-in-chief

On Feb. 1, the Black History Month Assembly, organized by the Young Activists Coalition (YAC), took place during second block. The assembly featured music performances, poetry recitations, and speeches. 

The theme for this year’s assembly was “Black resistance, Black existence.” The assembly began with senior Anjali Robinson-Leary performing the Black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” on piano. 

Senior YAC student leader Aïssata Koné invited Derek Smith, a community member and Strath Haven alumni parent, to the stage to perform his poem entitled “August 1619.” The poem detailed the plights of slaves and the continued Black experience. 

The assembly continued with a speech by sophomore Josiah Robinson-Leary, who discussed the importance of hip-hop. YAC members continued with a recitation of the Black Panther Party Ten-Point Program. Senior Nailah Sweeting sang “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers, accompanied by music teacher Mr. Fischer on the piano. 

Unlike last year’s assembly, which was completely student-performed, a second adult spoke during this year’s assembly. With themes revolving around Black resistance, District superintendent Dr. Wagner Marseille urged the student body to not stay silent, but instead to pursue change despite the odds. 

Sophomore Jordyn Thurmond continued the assembly by performing her poem “Glitter.” The poem described how she came to understand her identity as a Black woman in a predominantly white community. 

Finally, a corecore style video, edited by Robinson-Leary, finished off the assembly. The video was designed to evoke emotions through a series of visuals. Her video included clips and stills from protests, movies, and historical events. 

Excerpts from the Netflix documentary “Homecoming” were shown throughout the assembly. The film depicts how Beyoncé used themes of Black resistance to design her 2018 Coachella performance.

Koné and senior Collin Woodland gave the closing remarks to the assembly, reminding students to donate to the sock drive which runs through Feb. 14. 

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