BLACC participates in first-ever retreat


Middle and upper school BLACC members convened at the Middle School campus for the first-ever retreat on Aug. 20. Club members heard from featured speaker Jarron Collins ’97. Credit: Tina Cleveland/Chronicle

Josie Abugov

At the first ever Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club retreat, guest speaker Golden State Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins ’97 told students to work hard inside and outside of school.
“The retreat was a resounding success,” associate director of admissions and retreat planner Janine Jones said. “Students seemed to be not only enjoying themselves, but also learning and planning for the year ahead.”
BLACC members from both campuses were invited to the retreat, held on Aug. 20 at the Middle School.
“Because we meet on separate campuses, members typically see the clubs as separate entities, and the retreat was a reminder that we are one united club,” BLACC leader Taylor Jones ’18 said.
At the beginning of the event, Collins noted his experience playing basketball, highlighting the importance of balancing academics and extracurricular activities, as well as exhibiting strong work ethic in all pursuits.
After bonding activities between club members, upper school students met with BLACC faculty and discussed the importance of setting goals, while lower school students participated in a Study Skills workshop. Students then shared personal experiences of what it meant to be black at Harvard-Westlake.
“[The boys in BLACC] were able to discuss strategies on how to deal with different forms of racism at Harvard-Westlake,” club member Charles Flippen ’18 said.
Keynote speaker Kyle Bowser (Drew Bowser ’20) presented “Trial By Jury: the Case of the N-word,” a film questioning the word as it’s used colloquially and in pop-culture.
“We need to be proactive about stopping [the n-word’s] use by holding people accountable,” Flippen said. “Letting peers know that it upsets you can go a long way.”
The retreat concluded with planning club activities for the 2016-2017 school year.
“I love the BLACC leaders this year and we’ve already come up with some great ideas,” Andrews said. “I think we’re going to make this year one for the books.”