Create spaces for Black student expression

Brooke Betters, Copy Editor

In recent months, the United States has been enlightened to the injustices that black people face every day. Black Lives Matter protests have been non-stop since May 26, following the death of George Floyd, and the unrest has opened the eyes of many students and adults who had the privilege to not see these injustices. This has started so many discussions for black students. 

Martin needs to create more opportunities for black students to safely express themselves and immerse themselves within the school. 

Martin could create clubs and groups that allow black students to freely express themselves without having to consider suppressing their feelings or ideas to cater to the majority demographic. When it comes to groups, clubs, or activities, if it’s not sports, the face of the group is not often a black student. It’s time to change that and create a representative amount of white and POC students in our school groups. 

It’s important to understand that black people creating safe spaces to uplift and encourage other black people isn’t racism. Every time a situation brings to light that there is a difference in the way black and white people are included, it’s classified as divisive nonsense when in reality it’s just black students urging to be heard. 

Why are there not enough black students immersed within school clubs, especially in today’s climate? Sometimes I don’t want to be the only black student. Sometimes we simply do not feel welcome.

Some may say that at Martin there are no black students who push themselves to go into clubs and apply, but there are driven students on our campus. We are just not supported in our endeavors. Black students have a stigma of being undriven or lazy. This just contributes to the reasons why black students can feel uncomfortable in our school. 

As a school, we are responsible for teaching students that there is more to black culture than just being good at athletics or dancing. We have to do better at teaching the other demographics there is more to our history. We cannot keep pushing that supporting only some aspects of black culture are okay without fully accepting, learning, and including our culture within Martin. Black students cannot feel inspired in areas where they are not accepted. 

From speaking with other black students, I realized that the problem lies where we always have to explain and ask for our culture to be accepted. Explaining to your school that the majority of a group of black students does not feel comfortable expressing the things that make them proud to be black is a problem.

With that being said, Martin could do so much more in order to make black students feel more welcome. We could create spaces where black students are able to meet other black students and talk about the things they experience – a club where other black students can meet each other and form relationships where they feel comfortable enough to share ideas. Martin could benefit from a black student association, where black students can simply have the freedom to be black, unapologetically. Clubs should also take on the challenge of including students of color in their membership and leadership.

All it takes is making a conscious effort to support and encourage black students to be a part of Martin, not just another graduating student. So many students feel out of touch with the school because it doesn’t represent them. If Martin would make a conscious effort to change that, then that would be an amazing start to improving our school.