BLACC celebrates Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, the Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club invited Black Panther Party leader and Harvard-Westlake grandparent Ericka Huggins (Jay Lassiter ’20) to speak to students and faculty. The club also hosted a screening of the film “Black Panther.”
BLACC hoped to promote equality and progress for minority groups through the events, club leader Taylor Redmond ‘18 said.
“The club aimed to bring about a sense of community for black students at Harvard-Westlake and to highlight their experiences at a predominantly white institution like our school so that our voices are heard,” Redmond said.
To encourage students to use their voices and inspire change, Huggins led a fireside chat-style discussion with students and faculty about the intersection between the feminist and civil rights movements Feb. 24.
In a one-on-one conversation with Redmond, Huggins discussed how the disparities between the treatment of men and women have conditioned society to ignore the contributions of female activists.
“It’s another one of those systemic illnesses that we suffer,” Huggins said. “I think that it’s very difficult for young men and older men or young women and older women, especially of color, to step forward in a unified way in predominantly white institutions, but also in institutions that aren’t white because we’ve been socialized to believe that women will take care of it. But there’s no fault, there’s no blame, it’s just that we’ve been socialized in the same way, and we can break with that socialization. I have to have hope that we can.”
Audience members then discussed their thoughts on societal issues and considered ways in which students can take action against injustices.
BLACC also hosted a screening of “Black Panther,” the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast, at Walt Disney Studios on Feb. 25. In organizing the screening, the club aimed to emphasize the importance of positive depictions of black men and women in television and movies, Redmond said.
Attendee Skylar Graham ’20 said he appreciated that the screening allowed him to see black representation in mainstream media.
“This movie is important to Black History Month because it’s an empowering image of black culture set in Africa without stereotypes of black people or the inferiority of women,” Graham said. “This time they are leaders.”
Although Redmond feels the month’s events were overall a success, she said the student body must continue to ensure that students of color feel represented throughout the year.
“I believe we’ve accomplished our goals because the entire community is now engaging in conversations that they weren’t or didn’t know how to previously,” Redmond said. “Our work here is far from finished, but progress is all we can ever ask for.”

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