The Black Student Union (BSU) is a club at Yarmouth High School composed of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students and their allies. The mission of BSU is to bring awareness to topics that African Americans and Black People face by having safe discussions on ways to eliminate racism, prejudice, inequality, discrimination and more.
One of BSU’s goals is to help students and staff reexamine our community’s history to better understand racism and its origins. As a first step, the BSU applied for a grant from the Yarmouth Educational Foundation to take a trip to Boston and spend the day specifically dedicated to exploring African American and Black history and culture. The day was an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions of the Black community as well as look back at history in New England from the perspective of a person of color. The students participated in a walking tour of the Black Heritage Trail (Beacon Hill), attended a guided visit to the Museum of African American History and enjoyed Ethiopian food at a local restaurant.
“I learned so many things that I didn’t know before. I learned about important African-American people who helped others and shaped this country. This field trip made me realize how much this information and knowledge needs to be taught in school. This benefited me a lot and helped me better understand our history. I think that this information is too valuable to be just shared with BSU. It should be shared with everyone,” said sophomore Neena Panozzo.
After the field trip, the BSU created a short video presentation for faculty about their experience. The students are currently working to help provide recommendations to faculty and administration about how our curricula, particularly those focused on history and culture, can be more inclusive. This field trip helped students in their objective to better educate others in the community about possible discrepancies and gaps in our retelling of history.
“Field trips and experiences like this make such a positive impact on learning for students and you are able to learn so much in only a day,” said ninth grader Madison Beaudoin.
For more information about this initiative, contact Justine Carlisle, BSU Club Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.