Black Student Summit, Feb. 2020

Callie Grober and Sophia Weglarz

“To me, this year was better planned out. There were more activities this year that I enjoyed than last year. The food was also better than last year. I had a better time and I felt like it was more student led than teacher led, and I had better connections with the people around me. During the survey, we got to choose what we got to do. Last year, I think we were just put into groups. This year] I was able to choose the groups I wanted to go to, so I was able to talk about topics I wanted. As opposed to being put into a group I didn’t know much about, I got to talk about things I wanted to talk about for my race like colorism and women. I think that’s a good idea instead of just placing kids so they will have a better time.” –  sophomore Dezanay Allen

“I love how we all connected, like in the women’s affinity group. I really liked the mental health workshop the most because we were able to talk about things I’ve never talked about before. It was very inspiring and informative, and it was nice having us share our experience.”  – sophomore Camryn Cullum

“It was one of the best years that I’ve experienced. The workshops hit home for me and the speaker was everything and more.” –  senior Lauryn Gray 

“My favorite part of the Summit is the affinity group….I feel like in a lot of my classes, the people of color, and especially the Black people, get silenced unwillingly…the white voices dominate the discussion, so I really like to hear different voices and stories that I can’t hear [in my classes].” – senior Aldric Martinez-Olson 

“This Black Summit was the best summit we had in four years. The speaker was amazing. He empowered women and showed us why being Black is amazing.” – senior Zeenat Njoya

“My favorite part was the women’s identity session because it was nice being around a bunch of black women who we all shared similar experiences and we were all able to be together and talk about the issues that went on. I also loved the food, because as a Nigeran, I feel that the jollof rice was Nigerian approved. The colorism section, I felt it was really good to have that, to talk about the discrimination within our community, whether that was hair or skin tone and how we perceive each other.” –  sophomore Michelle Ogungbemi

“The Black Summit was an experience both Black and other racial backgrounds should experience. I loved every moment of the Black Summit and would do it over again.” –  senior Luke Thorpe

It was enlightening–all of the cultural dances and us just learning more about our Black culture.” –  freshman Omari Waldron

“Today’s event was phenomenal! To see so many students and staff invested into the work of equity instead of just the word was truly an impactful experience. The fact that students were the driving force behind the planning and the participation was even more impressive. The event should certainly be done nationally in schools.” – Brandon Brown, President of School Yard Rap 

“The importance of this event is simple, when those students left that space and back into their regular day schedule, they were once again the minority in a room. Being this, and especially an African American, very often means you have to adjust to fit in and not be seen as “aggressive” or “angry.” The event provided a safe space where students could be authentically themselves and talk about issues that they face daily, but rarely feel the security in the space to address or discuss them.” – Brandon Brown, President of School Yard Rap