All of Berkeley’s public schools celebrated February as National Black History Month, in addition to making the greater commitment to recognize black history and the contributions of diverse cultural groups to our national history and culture.
Here’s some of what was special in our schools in honor of Black History Month in February:
BUSD Parent Engagement Office
Black Parent Affinity Group (BPAG) Event
February’s Black Parent Affinity Group “Parent Power” Retreat honored Black History Month with a series of engaging workshops structured to empower parents to successfully navigate and positively impact their students’ education each day. As part of the retreat, children who attended were treated to a “teach-in” provided by the Bay Area performance and demonstration organization, Young, Gifted and Black. Check out the video. The retreat closed with a student performance and a room full of proud parents. Check out photos of the retreat.
Berkeley High School
Celebrations for Black History Month
In celebration of Black History Month, an exhibit was installed in the C Building gallery to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party, which has its roots in the Bay Area. Thank you, Mr. Norberg, for organizing the exhibit, which gave the BHS community an opportunity to honor this important moment in African American history.
Student also learned interesting facts about African American History. Here’s one: In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first African American to make a formal bid for the US presidency.
For a lunch time celebration, the Black Student Union and the African-American Studies Department brought back Disc Jockey CJ Flash of the Rick and Russ Radio Show to spin another round of positive tunes on the Senior Steps.
Berkeley Technology Academy
‘Afro-Vegan’ chef gets Berkeley students cooking
Berkeley Technology Academy hosted Bryant Terry, an eco-chef, well-known author, and food justice activist. Mr. Terry circled up with the students and teachers to discuss the importance of knowing where our food comes from and eating healthy. He talked about the history of gardens in African American food culture and the Black Panther Party’s leadership in food access programs, such as free breakfast programs.
Together, with teachers and District administrators, students gathered around chef tables bountiful with fresh veggies, including heirloom tomatoes and herbs. The students prepped and cooked tastings using healthy recipes created by Mr. Terry with origins from the African Diaspora, such as a veggie-heavy gumbo with leafy greens harvested from their school garden.
Bryant Terry has been featured in Civil Eats and was a Food and Society Policy Fellow, a national program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, from 2008 to 2010. Mr. Terry’s most recent book is Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed, published in April 2014.
Willard Middle School: The Willard Community turned out for a celebration of African-American history and culture and a delicious meal grown, cooked and served by the Growing Leaders Farm and Garden Elective. Enjoy this student performance from the event!
Longfellow Middle School:
Longfellow Middle Schools’ Black History Assembly was a celebration that honored the contributions of the Black Panther Party on its 50th Anniversary and was dedicated to the memory of Eric Garner. The Black History 2016 Assembly Program shows the range of student and staff talents that were on display as well as the planning and preparation that the Assembly Crew took on to make the assembly a huge success. Here’s a clip of Longfellow student, Jalayah, reciting Maya Angelou’s Cagebird.
King Middle School:
King teachers and their students made visual images a centerpiece of their month long Black History celebration by decorating classroom doors with Black History ideas and stories. Weekly morning message videos and class discussions brought the images and black history to life.
Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM) – BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION
BAM celebrated Black History Month with a night of community that included performances by Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir (including songs with BAM students), and delicious food catered by Chef Robert Edwards of Ethans Catering.
Washington Elementary – BLACK PANTHER VISITS WASHINGTON SCHOOL
This year, Washington’s African American Unity Group decided on a local theme: “Berkeley’s Black History”. Fifth grade students studied the Black Panthers, and developed questions for their interview with Former Black Panther leader, Ericka Huggins, a resident of Berkeley. To help students learn local events and important figures in Berkeley’s history, classes met with BUSD staff and community members who grew up in Berkeley’s black community.