Johnston needs to recognize Black History Month


“Everybody Forgets” Cartoon drawn by Kennedy Stone.

Kennedy Stone, Staff Writer

This year, the staff has been focusing on connecting and being more open with the students. I know they are trying hard to connect with all the kids in the building. Yet they are missing some of the biggest and most obvious ways in the process. For example, why does Johnston not do anything for Black History Month?

Black History Month is the perfect opportunity to openly talk with the students. Actively asking the students what we should do for the occasion would be the best option. “I think it would be a great thing to celebrate Black History Month,” Tahj Neely 18 said. “I think that students and staff should be a part of it and they could make a whole committee. So, they can keep the tradition going.”

The staff also have opinions on why celebrating Black History Month would be a good thing. The reasons all have to do with students and teachers both, and do not have to be put into action only during Black History Month. “I think it’s something we should do,” Assistant principal Jerry Stratton said. “Many history books are written from a white viewpoint. I think it should be Social Studies teachers’ responsibility to show how history affects all ethnic groups and races.”

The staff is also willing to acknowledge the issues that can arise with trying to do something for the month. “The problem is that the only people that care about Black History month are the people it affects,” Hall monitor Dannie Spann said.

This is a valid point to make, because Johnston is predominately white. There is the chance that majority of people will not care about celebrating a minority. These factors can affect the success of whatever event we would put together, but just because a group or problem is small does not mean that we should just ignore it. “I think, to make it more impact, we need to learn about it [black history] in other times of the year,” student liaison Joshua Kennedy said.

Personally, I think Johnston should hold a festival with multiple events. The events could be dedicated to black culture, history, and to celebrate the black staff members we have. Tahj Neely suggests something similar. “My cousin, Julian Neely, went around the building putting up posters about African Americans that made outstanding achievements despite all of the horrendous acts that were being committed upon people of color,” Neely said.

Schools like Hoover High School in Des Moines have a diversity week. On one of the days, there is a talent show where different races perform something having to do with their culture. Something like this could work too. It would be a chance for people to experience a different culture without feeling completely out of their element. Just because we are less diverse than other schools, does not mean that we can not do anything. “We need to do something, or else it will just be another month at Johnston High School,” Neely said.