Black History Month program goes virtual

Performance ties Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements

poster design by Hiwot Schutz and Jaaron Langford

The Black History Month Celebration is an annual event at Shorewood High School that highlights the importance of black history and culture. The event is produced by students, specifically Youth Rising Up (YRU). YRU is a student organization that brings people together through the focuses of diversity, inclusion, and equality. This year, the celebration will focus on the era of the 1950s and ‘60s, as well as the Black Lives Matter Movement that is taking place in the present day.

“For this year’s show we wanted to look back on the Civil Rights Movement and compare it to the events that we are all witnessing today with Black Lives Matter,” said Nelson Brown, YRU advisor and campus supervisor. 

The celebration will connect both the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement in a way that features the importance of activism and standing up against racial injustice. 

“We’re trying to talk about what it means to finally end this cycle and what it means to be anti-racist, what it means to be an abolitionist, what it means to be serious and want to end this abusive system,” said Alemitu Caldart, senior and YRU president. 

The Black History Month Celebration is especially important for the village of Shorewood, where a lot of performative activism has taken place instead of real changes towards fighting racial injustice. The celebration will show the community the importance of being a true ally and standing up against racism.  

“We have a great opportunity to spread news about what’s going on, and the injustices, and the activism that we’re trying to show,” said Micaiah Armstrong, senior and YRU vice president. 

The celebration will consist of many different acts that focus on the connection between the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement, including singing, narration, and spoken word. 

“We’re going to give you some head-on facts that you can’t miss,” Armstrong said. “I think that it’s really going to be blunt and just presented to you. I think it’s really going to be one to remember this year.” 

 The celebration is going virtual this year due to COVID19. YRU has had to adapt to these events in terms of production; the students are able to go into the school in small groups in order to record their different acts for the event.

“We have a schedule printed out and people can sign up for what time slot they want to go into the school to record their singing, or narration, or poem that they’re doing,” Caldart said. “We use a stage, sometimes we use the little theatre room, and then everyone wears a mask. They’re socially distanced.” 

In terms of viewing the event, the public will have easy virtual access. The celebration is scheduled to take place on February 24 and will be uploaded to a number of different social media accounts, including the district Facebook page and website, around 12:00 pm that day. The public will also be provided with a YouTube link to the celebration prior to its date. 

“I’m really excited about the direction we decided to take for this year’s show,” Brown said. “It is definitely going to be unlike any show we’ve put on in the past. The students really put a lot of hard work into making this a unique experience for this unique time we are in right now.”