Black History Month Events

Jadon+Washington+performing+his+spoken+word+piece.%0ACheyann+Greirson+%2716

Jadon Washington performing his spoken word piece. Cheyann Greirson ’16

Convent of the Sacred Heart students and faculty celebrated Black History Month with weekly events that focused on African-American achievements in the arts, sciences, and politics. Topping off the celebrations was a multi-school conference with Brunswick School, Fordham Preparatory School, The Ursuline School, and School of the Holy Child held at Sacred Heart February 25. Seniors and co-heads of Club AWARE  Alexis Karas, Marie Njie-Mitchell, and Julenne Jaramillo coordinated the events.
During morning meetings, the club organized Black History Month fun-fact quizzes in the Lennie de Csepel theater. Some of the questions included “When was Black History Month created?” and “Who is known as the father of Black History Month?” The winners of these quizzes received prizes such as cookies and other baked goods. 

Club AWARE co-heads, seniors Marie Njie-Mitchell, Alexis Karas, and Julenne Jaromillo introduce the event and say an opening prayer along with senior Caitlin Joyles. Cheyann Greirson '16
Club AWARE co-heads, seniors Marie Njie-Mitchell, Alexis Karas, and Julenne Jaromillo introduce the event and say an opening prayer along with senior Caitlin Joyles.
Cheyann Greirson ’16

In addition, senior Marie Njie-Mitchell and juniors Jodanna Domond and Tasha Adison will teach a dance class in March. The dance class will focus on both traditional and contemporary African-American dance practices. 
To end the month-long celebration, the club hosted a final multi-school event after school February 25. Marie opened with a prayer by civil rights activist, historian, and author W.E.B DuBois. The prayer set the tone for the event and DuBois’ words sparked the discussion of African-American societal contributions.
After the prayer, Upper School Theology Teacher and Club AWARE moderator Mrs. Kerry Bader presented a movie clip from the Frontline documentary “A Class Divided.” The movie focuses on a classroom experiment where a teacher tries to teach the effects of discrimination in the classroom. She separates her class based on eye color in the hopes that her students learn the realities of prejudices and the value of equality.
“Our school has never really hosted an event for Black History and we wanted to have something to bring people together and start a conversation,” Alexis said. 
The students separated into smaller groups in which the co-heads facilitated a discussion of the film and inspired conversation about institutional versus societal racism, conformity, prejudice within minority communities, progress within the black community, and the importance of educating all groups of people. In response, students expressed positive reactions and engaging answers. 
Jadon Washington performing his spoken word piece. Cheyann Greirson '16
Jadon Washington performing his spoken word piece.
Cheyann Greirson ’16

“People our age have to be the ones to come up with these groups and start these conversations,” member of the Fordham Preparatory School diversity club senior Geffrey Ogando said. “It fights the stereotypes that minorities are unintelligent and cannot stand up on their own to create change.”
In addition, the event welcomed Ms. Bianca Bryson from New York Covenant Church’s Perpetual Praise Ministry, a liturgical dance ministry that performs the style of liturgical praise dancing. Ms. Bryson performed a tribute to African-American grandmothers to the song, “Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers. 
To conclude the program, Brunswick School senior Jadon Washington performed a spoken word poem on controversial social issues such as police brutality, institutional racism, and the criminal justice system.
“Say what’s on your mind and you will be heard,” Jadon said as a part of his poem.

With the culmination of Black History Month February 29, students and faculty leave with more knowledge of African-American achievements and a better appreciation for Sacred Heart’s diverse community.
– Arielle Kirven, Co-Arts and Entertainment Editor