The following was submitted by Unity in the Community.
Richmond Hill High School is celebrating Black History Month. The theme for this year is “Black History Didn’t Start With Slavery”. The displays will focus on the African Diaspora, starting with early African culture and moving through to the historical first Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in Richmond Hill. This year’s event is being led by the Diversity Club, sponsored by English teacher, Sharon Butts.
Along the hallways will be an introduction to the concept of the African Diaspora and Pan Africanism. These cultural concepts will be explored in word and pictures. Additionally, there will be a tribute to the historic African American culture and families of Richmond Hill, when it was known as Ways Station. Other things planned include a scavenger hunt for Black History/Culture and wearing certain colors to support cultural ideas and focus on other cultures connected to the African Diaspora, such as the Caribbean, and Central and South America and the countries and cultures of the African continent.
There will also be a celebration that will include many elements that will demonstrate this year’s theme. This includes a performance by the school’s dance team as a traditional African dance and step which is a dance traditional to African American history as well as members of the chorus.
This cultural connection is important to the diverse students of Richmond Hill High School and becomes very evident in this article by student, Doris Marie O’Kain:
“For the past two years that I have lived in Richmond Hill, I got to be a part of the most historic events within the town’s history. Richmond Hill High School’s first Diversity Club, first black history month celebration, and Richmond Hill’s first Martin Luther King March. The continuous number of “firsts” reminds me of the important work we do as a collective within the Diversity Club, and the ultimate goal we all strive for."
Diversity Club was founded by student Adia Parks. At first, this club started as an unsettling emotion. Adia said, 'I watched as students with the same color as my skin were discriminated against at school, a place where all students were supposed to be accepted and a part of the community regardless of skin. The continuous badgering over my skin color and personal experience slowly began to build, until finally I knew something had to be done."
From this, Richmond Hill High School’s first Diversity Club was born, a safe place for all to be accepted and loved for who they are inside and out. The Diversity Club’s ultimate goal is to allow all people to experience each other’s cultures and experiences, to bring a shred of humanity to things that the general public of the school and local community find foreign. The Diversity Club hopes to bind a connection to all people, when others may find themselves separate from different communities, races, religions and so on.
Diversity club brings the world and its people closer to the students of Richmond Hill High School. During the Hispanic Heritage Month, the Diversity Club members put together a day of celebration with traditional food, music, dance, and poetry to bring a culture to people who may be ignorant to its practices.