BOCAS Boys Pay Tribute to Black Lives in Honor of Black History Month
A celebration of Black History Month took place at the Friday Morning Meeting for Middle School and Upper School boys on February 9. Emcee George Lucas '18 did a wonderful job introducing and thanking speakers throughout the meeting, which incorporated a mixture of music, poems, research and impactful facts, all moving tributes to the lives of Black people and their history.
Soham Sethi '23 played "Yellow Submarine," by The Beatles, on the French horn as Aleeza Meir accompanied him on the piano. This was followed by a powerful poem entitled "As Black As Brooklyn" written and read by Alumnus and Parent Kris Harris '95 P'22, '24, ‘26. Ninth Grader Angel Vasquez ’18 shared facts about desegregation in education and the "Little Rock Nine" in 1957, closing with the point that it is hard to see that much has changed since this case. Omotola Olorode '19 gave a speech about how it is easy to forget the contributions of others and that we need to pay close attention to history as a guide as we embark on new journeys ahead. He said, "Black History Month is also a time to seize on the opportunity to see how we can eradicate all past biases, stereotypes, and prejudices that are tearing apart society." David Peart '20 recited his poem, "On the Contrary," accompanied by the heavy sounds of the drum played by Owusu Slater.
Led by Emcee Basti Williams '21 and George Lucas, different boys took turns reading out the names of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Jordan Davis, Philando Castille, Ramarley Graham and Freddie Gray, young black men who have died since 2012, when the Black Lives Matter movement began, highlighting the plight of these men, ending with Jackson Deans '19 stating "I am a black man in America and I matter."
The last part of the program took the form of a quiz to see how well everyone in the audience knows their history, using questions created by the Middle School and Upper School BOCAS members. Some of these questions were: When was the Pan African Flag created and what do each of the colors represent? How many museums in the United States are dedicated to African American culture? How many Black women have run for president? Do you know why the Black Lives Matter movement began? Click here for all the questions and answers.
George Lucas and Neil Thompson '21 closed with: "We encourage you all to keep learning about Black history not only in the month of February but all year long."