Throughout the month of February, students across all three divisions celebrated Black History Month with activities both in and outside the classroom. The Black Student Union and Black Girl Magic affinity groups kicked off the month with a joint affinity group lunch at Bergamot Station. Later in the month, they also welcomed students, faculty and staff who identify as Black, African American or mixed race to a celebratory luncheon in the Cadena garden with catered food from Bludso's BBQ, Honey’s Kettle and Coley’s. In addition, the groups are planning to host an upcoming assembly focused on Black storytelling for Middle and Upper School students.
At the Elementary School, students studied different Black historical figures and modern-day icons as part of the All School Reads program, which aims to engage students in campus-wide discussions on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Elementary School students who identify as Black, African American or mixed race were invited to participate in a play titled “Keeping Black Inventors in the Light.” The play, written by Crossroads parent Chrishaunda Lee Perez P’31, explored the impact of highly accomplished yet lesser known Black Americans throughout the nation’s history. As part of the project, students attended weekly rehearsals after school to memorize lines, research their characters and design and paint sets. The students performed the play on Monday, Feb. 27 during Monday Morning Meeting for the entire Elementary School community.
Following the performance, Interim Head of School Mariama Richards said, “This is how we can actively, read, study and understand the ways that so many cultures within this country and beyond have helped contribute to what we’re able to experience and do on a day-to-day basis. I hope you will take this as a ticket forward to understand more about who you are and also learn about other cultures that are different from yours.”
The Black Family Alliance (BFA) hosted an event on the 21st Street Campus on Sunday, Feb. 26 that was open to the entire School community including families, faculty and staff. Guests enjoyed Southern, Creole, Caribbean and African food samplings, and entertainment such as Nigerian Griot (traditional storytellers), African drumming and dancing and student musical performances. At the end of the afternoon, music provided a touching moment for community connection.
“To close the event, everyone sang the Black National Anthem, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ led by BFA community member and celebrated musical artist, Goapele,” said Anakela Washington, P’25, 28 and co-leader of the BFA. “A verse in the song refers to ‘[singing] a song, full of the hope that the present has brought us.’ And we all left the event full of hope, indeed.”