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The news site of Hinsdale Central High School

Devils' Advocate

The Black Student Union highlights Black History Month

Sadiyah Alam
Poster display in the commons celebrating Black History Month.

Throughout the month of February, the Black Student Union (BSU) has commemorated Black History Month with various projects around the building. Gia Georgeow-Maniscalco (GGM), counselor and head of BSU, and Adjovi Golo (AG), senior and club president, discussed what Hinsdale Central has done during Black History Month and the importance of the month.

What are the activities that BSU participates in at their meetings?

GGM: Students have gathered together to watch movies and talk about stuff they can do to contribute to this month. We’re going to have a pizza party as well where all students can spend time with their friends and enjoy.

AG: Throughout the year, we have different activities that we hold and participate in. What we mainly do is have monthly meetings where all the students come after school. One was specifically about how we want to encourage African American students to take AP classes. Another one was to promote Halloween, so we were watching scary movies and just hanging out. We were also discussing different issues that we face in the school, and how we may be able to work around them. At the end of the year, we’re gonna do a bunch of other stuff, including a fashion show and also connect with Hinsdale South’s BSU.

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What are the usual activities that the club participates in during Black History Month?

GGM: This year we have [music from] black artists playing in the hallways between every period on Fridays. We also have [posters of] notable black leaders and posted them in all the different departments. [This is] so people will be familiar with names they haven’t seen. We also have a jazz band performing before school to celebrate playing jazz.

AG: We contributed by playing jazz music for students, keeping posters around the school and [putting] powerpoints on TVs mentioning great people. It’s important to expose students to different perspectives and different cultures. We understand that the black population at Hinsdale Central isn’t that large, so it’s important for us to really educate students on aspects about our lives and our culture.

The Black Student Union display posters showcasing black leaders such as Maya Angelou. (Sadiyah Alam)

What is the importance of having BSU celebrate Black History Month? How do these events affect students?

GGM: On Feb. 16, we had two soul food trucks. They served chicken parmesan, jerk chicken, philly cheese [steaks], barbecue, smoked barbecue chicken and meatloaf with sides. It portrayed their culture’s food in a great way where all students from Central can try and taste the food which is highlighted in their culture. The Black Student Union also partnered with the music department, so we had a jazz ensemble play. We also have a jazz band performing before school in the cafeteria to celebrate playing jazz. Students can hang out and listen to [the music] before classes start. I think that it allows students to learn about black history in an amazing way.

AG: We believe that since Hinsdale Central is basically a bubble for students who share similar points of views, similar cultures [and] similar traditions, it’s important for us to kind of burst that bubble and expose them to a culture and history that they’re not used to. The food truck was an idea mainly from the Hispanic Student Association, [with] how they had a food truck during Hispanic History Month. We believed we wanted something for soul food, so we just looked around and found some soul food trucks close by. [Then], we invited them here to share their culture, food and traditions.

What are the behind the scenes of planning events like these? How do you and the club come up with ideas and execute them?

GGM: Our leaders have collaborated, and then we’ve had staff who have partnered with us. It’s a great partnership with colleagues. Students come up with all the ideas, and I help them execute them.

AG: I’m the president, and our co-president is Kevin Osei-Badu. We come together and we just identify what we believe would be a great and time effective way to promote these different events. We focus on things that we know will help the African American students feel like they belong at the school.

What is your favorite thing about BSU? How do you hope to continue the work that the club is doing in the future?

GGM: I enjoy working with the students in a different capacity than as a school counselor. I think it’s a great opportunity for our black students to have a safe place in this school. I hope that we continue to make great efforts to really showcase how important and significant Black History Month is to everyone.

AG: My favorite thing about BSU, honestly, is just the aspect of finally giving Hinsdale Central a push towards African American culture. Before I became president, during Black History Month, it would feel like anytime throughout the year. Now, we’re starting to highlight African American culture. Before, it kind of felt lonely and like no one really cared about any important parts of who we are. [As well], all the African American students here [have] come and [told] me how they don’t feel like they belong at Central. They don’t feel like they have a space at Central to just talk about issues that they face. So, my favorite part about Central is just having that space. When they look at me and say they get it, I believe them fully.

To learn more about BSU, click here.

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About the Contributor
Sadiyah Alam
Sadiyah Alam, Writer
My name is Sadiyah Alam and I am currently a junior. I love travelling and hanging out with my friends and family. I sell Arabic and English calligraphy paintings and love any form of art. I love being athletic and play many sports like swimming, tennis, ice skating, and basketball. I'm pretty extroverted and love to make new friends and have a good time! You can contact Sadiyah at [email protected].

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