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Club Spotlight: The Black Student Alliance

March 22, 2022

The Black Student Alliance, BSA, consists of a passionate group of teens at HHS who hope to see a change in our schools and our world.

“All of us are very passionate,” Camryn McNeal, sophomore, said. “Not just about what we are doing; we are just very passionate individuals. When we have a thought or idea, we all take to that. We are going to say it. We are going to do it. We are going to get it done.”

The BSA board consists of presidents Murad Essak and Nalah Fearce, juniors, assistant presidents Camryn McNeal, sophomore, Robert Buckingham, senior, and communication managers Lamia Fisher, junior, and junior Elvis Nnaji, senior.

Members of the board began leading protests on February 7, calling for Amir Locke’s justice. Amir Locke was murdered by police conducting a no-knock warrant on February 2, 2022.

The club led protests, walkouts, and restorative circles from February 7 through the ninth, but these events have been halted.  

 The BSA was officially created on February 9, to make students feel supported.

“People were starting to lose vision of what the protests were about, and we didn’t want parents or staff to think of us as a distraction,” McNeal said. “We didn’t want to lose the importance of the protest. We wanted people to understand the protests are meaningful, and we aren’t just trying to get out of class.” 

Even though the protests have stopped, the support from students encouraged the BSA to talk to administrators about the changes they want to see at HHS.

The BSA was shown support from the student body but backlash from parent Facebook groups.  The backlash has affected the BSA board members in different ways.

“For me, it hurts to know my beliefs and culture and my people don’t matter to you,” Fisher said. “What we are doing is just chaos to you that is crazy. You don’t see anything wrong with murdering black lives, but you see something wrong with us protesting.” 

But other board members see others’ discomfort and lack of support as motivation and a call to action.

“I am going to fight for that; you are going to sit in discomfort,” McNeal said. “And at the end of the day, we are going to find success, and you are going to have to hear what I have to say.”

The club feels supported by the majority of the student body. They hope the student body recognizes their work behind the scenes with administrators. They are always welcoming new members.

Currently, the top priority of the BSA is educating others about the black experience in America. The club wants everyone to be educated on black trauma and black excellence.

The BSA is working with administrators to change graduation requirements to make an ethics class a mandatory course to graduate from HHS.

“We want to make sure everyone receives the education they deserve and the education we didn’t receive,” McNeal said.

Changing curriculum isn’t only a priority for the BSA and staff at HHS.

“We need to do research. We need to find teachers that would be willing to teach them,” Principal Crystal Ballard said. “We would also need scholar input and voice. I would love for it to be a collaborative process. I believe how we have operated for years where adults create the courses there can be some blind spots that can be strengthened that will strengthen the experience of all learners if we were doing more collaboration.”

The club hopes to create change that will leave a lasting impact on HHS.

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