MANCHESTER – On February 21, Central High held its Black History Month Celebration. The school's Student Advocacy Committee – or SAC for short – planned and hosted the event.
The event was created as a celebration of all cultures, and included student dancers, a cultural fashion show, and a motivational presentation by Deo Mwano. Theo Martey, a songwriter and performer who received the 2019 Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Education, closed the event with a drumming performance.
All photos in this post were taken by Central student and SAC member Shingirai Moyo. You can find more photos from the event here and you can find his work on Instagram at @Shingicaptured.
The student organizers drew praise from Principal Deb Roukey, Mayor Joyce Craig and fellow students and Central staff. We wanted to hear from the organizers in their own words, so we asked members of the Student Advisory Committee about what went into the event, how it went, and what they want to do next.
"SAC believes in change and taking action. meeting every week with our members we discussed how beautifully diverse our central community is. We came up with what our school already partakes in and what we don't. Realizing our school pep rallies time and time again bring our staff and students together and get them excited with motivation and Central spirit, we thought of a cultural assembly showcasing many of our cultures within the Central High School. Central has never had anything like this put on which is surprising considering how often our diversity is praised, this being the first ever Black history assembly Central has had in history (177 years), we believe this was very much important and needed to be brought to the high school to show the students that they are heard and that they are much more alike than they believe."
– Shingirai Moyo
“I personally did this because it was necessary for POC’s voices at the school to be amplified. Most POC students at this school do not feel recognized, and I know that I personally don’t. So, doing this was in hopes that voices and cultures could be represented in a fun, engaging way. We got a lot of good feedback from our teachers and especially from students. Many of my friends said it was the best assembly they’d ever been to, and I personally felt very proud of that. I personally hope to maybe possibly do another assembly like this eventually. But for now, small-scale projects like being able to listen to the concerns of students and planning solutions will most likely be my next step within SAC.”
– Ha My
“We did this to appreciate the cultures that are sometimes overlooked. It’s our mission to make sure all students feel represented and safe in our school, and by showcasing that, many students felt appreciated. It was important to really show the students of color at Central that they are seen and heard by embodying a representation of the different cultures that make up our student body. Many students expressed they never experienced anything like that, where they felt comfortable and a sense of belonging: A judgment-free zone where they could genuinely be themselves. We’re hoping to tackle more student affairs with students of color at our school that may be troubling and overall making school a safe space again.”