In the school’s magazine, Signature, Fall 2019, last year’s BLSU co-head Aisha Fadé ‘19 states “Our mission is to not only raise awareness of social justice issues pertaining to these minority groups, but also to find ways to bring these discussions to Emma Willard. We work endlessly to speak up on what it means to highlight diversity, be inclusive, and how to be an effective ally.” She also gave the BLSU group a last rallying call, “Keep being the phenomenal woke people you are!”
Taking advantage of Black History Month (a tradition that started in the United States in 1926 as one week launched by historian Carter G. Woodson and evolved into a month-long recognition in 1970), Emma Willard’s BLSU provided a packed assembly program that included dance, skits, speeches, and a poignant video on what it’s like to be a student of color at Emma Willard School.
When Black History was acknowledged as a month-long celebration in 1970, the notion was to provide time and space to recognize the frequently neglected and important accomplishments of Black Americans. That 50-year old tradition has included education and now offers the call of awareness. The call to be woke.
The entire school community enjoyed a day practicing critical thinking skills, communication, and collaboration outside of classes and in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy. The day was designed to reflect on the history, present, and future of civil rights in this nation through the lens of our nation’s history of slavery.
At Emma Willard School, we commit ourselves to building a community that values and celebrates differences, encourages dialogue, fosters mutual respect, and highlights our shared purpose and ideals. We are dedicated to the empowerment of all of our students, and we are guided by a deep understanding that a diverse, inclusive environment and academic excellence are inextricably linked.