Your contribution will allow us to cover our annual website hosting costs, which are no longer covered by our district/school. If we do not meet our goal this summer, we may lose this website and its archive of stories covering 2009-2023. Student journalists at Lane Tech use this archive to research past coverage of various topics and link to past stories to offer readers additional context for current stories. Thank you for supporting the award-winning reporting and writing of journalism students at Lane Tech College Prep!
Black History Month celebrations: ‘Black history is American history’
February 14, 2023
Lane’s Black Student Association (BSA) builds community throughout the African American community of the school to help with the underrepresentation they face. With the month of February being Black History Month, Lane’s BSA has various commemorative and entertaining events planned.
“Black History Month this year we’re doing about two to three events every week,” said Tiffany Williams, BSA’s sponsor.
These events range from the singing of the Black National Anthem on Feb. 1 to a movie night featuring “Hidden Figures” on Feb. 2. This allows students to express their culture and share it with others while also allowing them to unwind and watch a movie with their peers. The club will also host a “Soulcial” on the 17th where they will get to explore various African dishes, while being able to interact with teachers of African American descent.
“Personally, I have one day for Ethiopian Orthodox fasting, where I’m going to bring some Ethiopian foods that we eat before fast and talk about what the fast means to me and the society in general,” Melat Gebreyus, Parliament of BSA, said.
Students will have a chance to try Yetsom Beyaynetu, an Ethiopian fasting food served on a platter to be shared, Williams said. Sharing a day of fasting and informing others about it, is just one way the BSA gives students the opportunity to not only learn about each other’s cultures, but also dive deeper into their own.
“They can ask questions and think about ways that we can uplift our community, the Black community, here,” Williams said.
With all the special days still coming up in February, they still have one goal in mind and that is how they will keep uplifting the African community during and after Black History Month.
“To come into [a] school as diverse as Lane Tech, a lot of times they feel lost because we only represent about [6.8%] of the students here,” Williams said. “So the goal for BSA, like I said, is to give them a space… We understand how important it is to get together and celebrate each other, and just have that space, that family – the African American community is all about family.”
Not only is it important for the students, but for the teachers as well. Being severely underrepresented emphasizes even more how important it is for teachers to help guide students, and sometimes even the other way around, Williams says. This help can be represented through ways like introducing new foods, music, clothing or really anything that relates to their culture. This also gives students time to open up, according to Williams.
“Also, a lot of students come in, we have discussions about things that may make them feel uncomfortable,” Williams said.
With the troubling times of racism in the US, it’s important to discuss issues that arise, Williams said. Discussing these with teachers, especially those of African descent, can lead to resolutions of progress with their problems, Williams said. After all, the goal of BSA is to uplift and improve the African American student body and community, according to Williams.
“So we have a lot going on this month,” Williams said. “And we’re hoping that there’s a lot of participation because we know that Black history is American history.”