WEYMOUTH – “Barack Obama,” “Michael Jordan,” “Kobe Bryant,” fourth and fifth grade students shouted as Aaliyah Lambe-Inkiala, president of the Weymouth High School Black Student Union, read descriptions of the influential Black figures.
If the name was on the student’s bingo board, they were one step closer to earning a sticker.
Bingo was just one of many activities that students in the high school’s Black Student Union led for younger students at the Thomas V. Nash Jr. Primary School on Tuesday, March 29.
With help from the Human Rights Coalition, the union presented Black culture including fashion, hair, dance, poetry, art, games and even freeze dance. The morning of education and fun started with a performance by the Weymouth High School step team and concluded with a dance party to “Cupid Shuffle.”
“Education is probably our biggest goal. We know that with fourth and fifth graders, they’re going off to middle school and, in the Black Student Union, we’ve had a lot of talks about when us as Black students started to realize that we are different,” Lambe-Inkiala said. “We felt that the younger that we can show them different cultures and strive for acceptance, the better it would be.”
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Aniya Depina, secretary of the Black Student Union, presented poetry and art with sophomore Samia Chapman. The students listened as they read a poem by Maya Angelou.
“We had such a great conversation (at a recent Black Student Union meeting) , we’d thought we’d bring it here,” Depina said.
Amelia Ngatha, a sophomore, talked about fashion. The elementary school students learned about head wraps, prints and dashiki, a West African garment that can be worn for family gatherings, special occasions or weddings.
“It’s incredibly powerful for our students of color to share their narrative with the younger students,” said Alan Strauss, Weymouth High School principal and diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator for the district.
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A favorite activity of the high school students was freeze dance, featuring music by Black artists. The fourth and fifth graders jammed to songs alongside the high schoolers.
This was the first presentation the Black Student Union put on at a primary school. There are nine affinity groups at Weymouth High School and Strauss said he hopes that each group can eventually present to the younger students.
Lambe-Inkiala said, “It’s really important for the Weymouth community to see the changes that the youth are making. And just know that this is a collective effort and it starts at home, not just in school.”
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Reach Alyssa Fell at firstname.lastname@example.org.