ETHS celebrates Black History Month with a multitude of events

Ella Cleary, Staff Writer

At ETHS and around Evanston, there are a variety of events occurring throughout the month of February to celebrate Black History Month. 

“This year the overall theme [at ETHS] is focusing on healing in solidarity with one another,” said Erica Gardner, the Student Success Center Specialist at ETHS.

ETHS commenced Black History Month with a Divine Nine step show on Feb. 1. The Divine Nine are nine historically black fraternities and sororities from across the country, and one of their traditions is to put on a step show to show their pride. 

“What was so unique and special about it is that some students have never ever seen that before…So being able to bring that to a high school and really expose them to what the college experience is like was fun,” said Gardner.

Later that day, ETHS hosted a performance from the Hiplet Ballerinas, a Chicago-based dance company led by Homer Hans Bryant, the creator of the Hiplet dance style that fuses the traditional techniques of ballet with a variety of different dance styles.

“Just being able to expose our youth to ballet, a form of dance, it’s not so common in our community,” said Gardner. “And being able to see someone that looks like them was really, really a nice way to open up the month.” 

On Feb. 8-9, ETHS hosted the Black Student Summit, a two day event that is part of the Social Consciousness Series at ETHS. This series of events and workshops allows students to connect with others that have similar identities while also allowing them to celebrate their differences. 

“At the Black Student Summit we were all together in one space celebrating each other,” said Gardner.

That same week, ETHS had a spirit week for Black History Month, allowing students to show their spirit with ‘Rep your culture’ Monday, ‘Suited and booted’ Tuesday, ‘support a historically black college or university’ Wednesday, ‘Soul train’ Thursday and ‘Black Panther’ Friday.

Another event occurring this month is the Black History Month Film Festival, a weekly movie showing every Friday. 

“It’s a really unique way to get students involved and exposed to maybe some films and documentaries that they have not seen before,” said Gardner.

During the week of Feb. 13, District 65 and ETHS will come together for a literacy event that connects children from District 65 schools to high school students from ETHS to encourage literacy skills and reading. On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, ETHS students from the Black Student Union will go to District 65 schools to connect with younger students over reading.

“We expose the younger children to high school students, and just really promote literacy skills with them, as well,” said Gardner.

Overall, there are a wide range of events occurring this month at ETHS and all around Evanston to celebrate Black history.  

“Black History Month at ETHS means showing up and representing who we truly are…celebrating one another in all our unique traits, anything of that nature, just celebrating one another and being together,” said Gardner.