A look into African-American culture and heritage at American High School

Michelle Fong

Staff Writer

    Although the African American population here at American High School is small, they are mighty. Many students participate in the Black Student Union (BSU) to represent their heritage. February is especially important as African Americans often celebrate Black History Month together.

    To recognize this significant month, the club has planned for guest speakers to hold seminars during Flex period so that students at American can learn about their journeys.

    “African American [speakers] come and have a talk with us and tell us their background and what [life] was like for them,” said Donnyeah Tate (9), a member of BSU.

    The stories shared by the guest speakers are motivational to the younger generations of the African American community. By explaining their hardships and achievements, speakers can inspire youth to strive for the future.

   The majority of Fremont’s population being Asian, many African American students have different feelings about being in a minority.

    “I wish there was more diversity and that the school wasn’t [so homogenous] … but I’m used to it ‘cause I grew up in an Asian community,” explained BSU president Mykal Coleman (11).

    But joining the BSU can provide these students the African American community that is missing from Fremont.

    Because many African American students have grown up along peers of a different races, BSU warmly welcomes diverse club members to share how passionate they are about their culture.

    “The club represents not only the Black community, but all people of color. It allows us to have an open dialogue with each other, and gives us a voice in situations that we might not be able to take on as our own,” revealed Kylah Adams (9), historian of BSU.

    The club can be an outlet for African Americans and people of other races to come together and socialize.

    “It really helped me interact with a lot more African Americans, and I didn’t really realize how many of us it was until I came and saw that there was a lot of people like me,” stated Tate. “It is also a safe space for people to explore the club and see ‘where we come from’ so it brings African Americans from all around campus together at the same place.”

    To enlighten the rest of the school about their immense pride and respect for their culture, motivational quotes by African Americans are shared with the school each morning during morning announcements. And in addition to representing the Black community in a school environment, the club also prepares students for college.

    “For many of the kids in BSU it’s actually been a huge help for them because many of their parents didn’t go to college. Having these field trips and guest speakers help to inform them and make sure they are better prepared for their futures,” explained Coleman.

    Visiting San Jose State University as a club on February 5th was a way for upcoming seniors to explore their future college options. Black History Month is huge deal for many African Americans students in the school and in the country.

    “It’s important to us because it really helps those who know nothing about Black History month to know more about Black history,” said Coleman. “School for me can now be viewed as a safe space rather than just a classroom setting. It has allowed me to express myself and challenges I face on a day to day basis being an African American female.”

Caption:

BSU club visits San Jose State University on February 5th. They stand in unity in front of SJSU’s campus building.

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