BLAC day encourages conversations, shares student voices


Esha Bhawalkar

Students discussed the importance of sharing their experiences as African Americans at North during Black Leaders’ Advisory Council (BLAC) Day on Monday, Feb. 18, 2022.

“The goal was to educate people on how we personally felt about different experiences we’ve had being students of color going to a predominantly white school,” said junior Makayla Campbell, a BLAC member.

Campbell explained, for instance, that her hair forms a big part of her identity and BLAC day provided an opportunity for students of color to share their experiences with their hair and the overall treatment of black women.

“As a black woman, I’ve always felt that my experiences have always been overlooked, especially when it comes to things like my hair. People don’t think that it’s a big deal, but to me it is,” said Campbell.

She added, “I know that in the hair and makeup department at North, they don’t have the tools to take care of our hair. It’s things like that which make us feel overlooked.” 

Student panelists spent months preparing for BLAC day, meeting every week during Tiger block to ensure the presentations went as planned according to Campbell.

Throughout the day, panelists discussed how high school is a divisive time, and that students should aim to support each other, regardless of race, through this period in their lives.

According to METCO counselor Atiera Horne, who advises the club, BLAC day was different from previous years due to COVID-19.

“Fortunately, we were able to live stream the panels, even though we didn’t have much of a live audience,” said Horne.

According to Horne, organizing the event was meaningful to counselors because of how it helped students share their voices. “This was really important to (us)because we want them to be able to really vocalize these experiences on a larger level to better connect with other students,” she added.

Although this is Horne’s first year being a counselor, she is a North alumnus and former BLAC member.

“Personally, as a previous BLAC student member from my time at North to now, the adviser of the club, the whole experience has been nostalgic. The current BLAC student leaders have cultivated a positive, enriching, and empowering school climate that extends beyond an extra-curricular activity, but more of a support system for BIPOC students at NNHS,” said Horne.

The day started with a panel of black male students discussing mental health, depression, and suicide in young people of color.

Later, during d-block, student panelists discussed black culture, especially the importance of dance, describing it as a fundamental piece of their culture and heritage. After showing a video on the historical origins of dance as it was brought to the Americas in the 1600s with the slave trade, panelists discussed a few dances that were created by various African American communities.

During g-block, the hair panel included students from all grades, including Campbell, and junior Annyka Saint-Preux, a BLAC co-president.