Students at Coliseum College Prep Academy, a public high school in East Oakland, celebrated Black History Month last Friday by putting an assembly for the entire student body, featuring Black music, dance and fashions across the decades and centuries.
Organized by the school´s Black Student Union (BSU), the assembly opened with lyrics from rendition of Sam Cook´s classic, “It´s been a long time coming, but a change is gonna come.”
A short video clip featured comments from the school´s teachers talking about what they considered to be important moments in Black history.
Speaking at the end of the assembly, educator and Black Student Union adviser Toynessa Kennedy said the celebration was not exclusively about recognizing the contributions of African Americans but also about building the school community and mutual respect.
“In this time in our country when so many crazy things are happening, we need each other more than ever,” she said.
After the event, some students reflected on their participating in the celebration.
“(The) celebration felt special to me because it was a part of me,” said Tenai.
It was emotional for me. I cried three times for no reason,” said Richard.
“It made me happy to share a month of my culture with other cultures,” said Ramiyah. “All of us Black kids and adults had the expression of joy on our faces.”
“My favorite part was when we gave flowers to Ms. Kennedy, and she almost cried,” she said.