Each department in the high school was responsible for making videos and lectures that would feature important African Americans for Black History Month.
Social studies teacher Scott King-Owen said that there was a committee of members from the district who were tasked with designing ways to educate students on influential African Americans. The committee, he explained, decided that teachers would make videos to highlight influential African Americans in the subject they’re teaching.
“I made a video on Privilege and Intersectionality, a video on a favorite poet of mine, Lucille Clifton, one on the controversy surrounding Black History Month, and one on being ‘fake woke,’” King-Owen said.
In addition, he also explained that the videos were intended to be shown during the homeroom time in first period.
The conversations that have stemmed from the videos are important and would not be conversations that would have been had with an assembly, he explained.
Bexley Anti-Racism Project member and sophomore Maya Murray said she enjoyed the videos and seeing different accomplishments of African Americans in history. She explained that going into a field or an area of study where there aren’t people who look like her can be hard, so seeing that there are other people who did it gave her hope.
“Seeing people who can be role models and who look like you is very important,” Murray said..
Black History Month is a month to celebrate the accomplishments and important work of Black people, she said.
“I think Black History Month is a great time to continue to educate yourself…and to acknowledge and work to fight racism and prejudice,” Murray said.
Fellow Bexley Anti-Racist Project member and sophomore Olivia Lybarger said that Black History Month is also an oppurtunity to further the discussion on racism in America.
“Unfortunately, racism and prejudice towards Black people still exists today,” Lybarger said. “Black History Month brings attention to these existing racial issues.”
King-Owen said that Black History Month also brings attention to the role of African Americans in American history, which is often neglected in curriculum, and should extend outside of one month.
“In more recent years, the point has been made that African American history needs to be taught all year long because African American history is American history,” King-Owen said.
Furthermore, he added that he was happy with the district’s initiative and push to educate students further on the accomplishments of African Americans.
“In previous years, it was ‘we’re going to have an assembly,’ and the assembly checked the box for the month,” he said.
King-Owen hopes the high school’s Black History Month initiative will influence people, especially in a community like Bexley, to reflect on their privilege and see what they can do to help the cause, he said.
Murray also hopes that one day, everyone can appreciate the accomplishments of African American figures and their successes.
“I hope to see less of a focus on Black trauma and instead a focus on the more positive aspects of African American culture,” Murray said.