Representing Resistance during Black History Month

I step below the white banner which says “BHM EXPERIENCE”  in bold black letters. Hues of red, orange, yellow, and green instantly surround me. I turn from classroom to classroom and each door has a different topic. As I pass classrooms, there are pictures of prominent black figures and their accomplishments all around me.

However, as I continue walking, one word keeps coming up on the doors; “resistance.”

“The theme of black resistance is actually a national theme,” said Ms. Barnes, a guidance counselor and advisor of the No Place for Hate Club. “So as Francis Lewis, I thought it would be appropriate if we adopt the national theme.” 

The door competition was a student’s idea, who is a member of the No Place for Hate Club.

“Her name is Carolyn Lee,” the President of the No Place for Hate Club, Grace Chen said. “She was the one who came up with the idea because we wanted to celebrate Black History Month and represent black culture in a positive way.”

The competition, which was organized by the No Place for Hate Club, was schoolwide. Several clubs participated in it and were able to tie in themes that connected to their club as well as themes relating to black history.

“So for the competition, we wanted to incorporate debate elements and black culture,” sophomore and co-president of the Debate Club, Nancy Lin said. “We picked people who had to fight for their rights as black people, and through that we did research. We learned about people and what they had to go through in order to get their rights.” 

Students were able to receive supplies such as “bulletin board paper” and “poster-sized construction paper” from Ms. Barnes. They were also given other opportunities and benefits while participating in the competition.

“They have access to use my additional computer that’s in my office to print additional work,” Ms. Barnes said.“If they want to take the time to actually do the research, they have that option. They also have an option to meet new friends and work with friends as well, to complete the project.” 

While the doors served to celebrate Black History Month, they were also able to spread new information to our community.

“Before the competition, I had a general idea,” Lin said. “I wasn’t really in-depth, but after the competition, I felt a little more closer. My understanding became wider and it just made me more aware.” 

Grace Chen mentioned that one of the main goals of the competition was “to have students feel represented.”

“When they walk into school they can feel safer,” Chen said.”They can see their culture being represented in a positive way instead of the historical, dark representation that we often see in media.”

According to Ms.Barnes, the main intention of the door competition was to spread awareness of other cultures and celebrate them.

“I hope they take away that in our community of students and staff, it is important for us to always celebrate each other’s differences, culture, and experiences. That’s what makes us a Francis Lewis family,” added Ms. Barnes.