On Friday, February 17, as part of a series of events across all three divisions, Social Justice and Equity associate teacher Alison Williams helped to coordinate a powerful assembly in Hillsborough featuring students, parents, and staff members. The assembly, entitled “Hidden Figures: Then and Now,” provided an opportunity for our community to celebrate and reflect on the contributions of black Americans across all aspects of American life while at the same time providing recognition and visibility to our current black community at Nueva.
In the days leading up to the assembly, Alison shared this article with all lower and middle school teachers as a way to contextualize both the assembly and Black History Month. The article outlines the origins of Black History Month, places the honoring of the month in a current context, and provides references for those interested in learning more.
Earlier that week, in preparation for the assembly and in honor and Black History month, the entire 7th-grade class traveled down to San Mateo to watch a private screening of Hidden Figures. Upon returning to campus, students and teachers discussed the issues the film raises about race, gender, access to education, and the struggle for equality that continues to this day.
Additionally, in an effort to celebrate the accomplishments of past and current heroes, displays that were created by Nueva’s Computer Science teacher Abigail Joseph were hung in the library and GCC lobby on the Hillsborough campus. These displays, and an accompanying slideshow that ran on displays throughout the month (and is posted at bottom of this article), featured an incredible cast of Black Americans and their accomplishments throughout American history.
Earlier in the month at Bay Meadows, Hillary Freeman, 9th-grade dean and director of Nueva’s Internship Program, and Social Justice and Equity teacher Alegria Barclay curated a Black Lives Matter presentation and discussion with the entire Upper School community. Students carried the conversations started that day into their advisories.
On the afternoon of the 17th, the entire lower and middle school community gathered together to hear from over twenty members of our community who shared a little bit about their lives, interests, and accomplishments.
Reflecting on the experience, Alison said, “I am so incredibly proud of our kids, parents, and staff who came together to make our Black History assembly happen. The assembly was high energy, celebratory, and uplifting.
“Tunde Sobomehin [Nueva parent and founder of StreetCode Academy] really led the way and supported the kids of our African American Affinity group as they imagined their roles within the assembly. We had students from second through eleventh grade represented, as well as faculty and parents from all three divisions."
After the assembly, students had the opportunity to spend time with some of the speakers for some workshops and to talk more with our highlighted community members.
“We look forward to continuing this tradition in years to come,” concluded Alison.
March 10, 2017