Black History Month deserves more celebration at Tam


By Colette Hale, Op/Ed Editor

Black History Month has been a prominent, nationwide event ever since former President Gerald Ford officially recognized it in 1976. The month is intended to celebrate and honor the contributions and legacy of Black Americans across the U.S. 

Tam’s previous participation has been low, but this year it seems to be on the rise as the student body has shown more spirit during spirit weeks and leadership’s other lunch events. Hopefully, we can continue this energy and involvement and use it to celebrate Black History Month in new engaging ways. 

Each year has had a specific theme, last year’s being Black Health and Wellness, which focused on the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners. The school held a combined event of a Black-Owned Business Marketplace and Food Market. 

The 2023 theme will be Black Resistance, which will focus on how Black Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, and advocate for the continued teaching of Black history. Leadership has been working with the presidents of the Black Student Union (BSU), senior Jamaica Heaven and senior Sianne Carr, to separate these into two different events: a Black-Owned Business Marketplace and a cookout, which they are very excited to try out.

“A cookout, in Black culture, is a place for the Black community to come together to share food, drinks, and just be in each other’s presence. We thought that this was a super important part of Black culture that we wanted to bring to Tam,” Heaven said. 

These planned events reflect this year’s theme of Black resistance because they support and recognize the success of Black-owned businesses. 

Senior Ella Clark is involved in leadership and has been helping plan events for Tam’s heritage months. She is the activism commissioner, rally co-commissioner, and is also a part of Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR). Last year, leadership did not have a specific committee in charge of planning events for heritage months, just some student meetings between club presidents and leadership students. 

Clark created the Activism Committee to have a group that could work together on Black History Month and other cultural heritage months, she said.

We needed to continue supporting cultural clubs at Tam,” she said. 

BSU has full control and influence over the events for Black History month and has used its partnership with leadership to get further connections and resources in its planning. 

Although leadership and clubs put so much work into planning school events, there is a greater lack of participation from students, they said, especially aimed at heritage month events compared to rallies and dances. A majority of the school attends rallies, dresses up, and wears school spirit, but turnout for cultural celebrations is significantly lower. 

“The fact that we have to advertise ‘free food’ and ‘win prizes’ bigger than ‘support Black-owned businesses’ or ‘learn about Latine culture’ in order to get people to even show up speaks volumes,” Clark said. 

Heaven explained how even though some students do come to participate and support these events, sometimes students come for the wrong reasons and don’t realize what the actual point of the event is. This year, the hope is that students will realize what these events are actually about and come to reinforce learning and support the culture, not just the food and the merchandise.

“Students need to realize and understand why we are doing this and why it’s important. That is, what we are trying to do through these events while also making it fun and exciting,” Heaven said.

The best way to have students more involved in the celebration of Black History Month is to show up to events and invite your friends. Black History Month is an important event in our history, and needs to be celebrated more at Tam.