By Lauren Cohen
Oak Hall’s mission statement reads as follows: “A welcoming, diverse, and supportive learning community empowering students to pursue their academic, artistic and athletic passions.” The Upper School’s newest club, the Black Student Union (BSU) believes it will help further this mission through the dedication to increase racial diversity and representation.
“We believe in being a welcoming entity. It is important that we express to the Oak Hall family that all are welcome, regardless of race,” said the BSU advisor and member of the Oak Hall faculty, Sherolyn Spencer. “We intend to give a voice to those who may feel unheard or misunderstood on campus,” she continued.
Oak Hall Senior, Adryanna Jerkins, noticed the lack of racial diversity within the school community and decided to take action. Jerkins has united black students and faculty alike, aiming to bring representation onto campus. Kesean Brown, one member of the newly formed club even shared that he feels a sense of greater “confidence and pride” after joining. Jerkins hopes to teach others about diversity by bringing positive racial relations into the school and promoting mutual respect for all cultures and backgrounds.
Elections were recently held to determine the positions of all involved in the club. It has been decided that the BSU will meet the first Wednesday of every month during the first half of lunch in US 16. Meetings are welcome to all regardless of race and are encouraged for those who hope to build bridges and increase understanding on Oak Hall’s campus. The club plans to host educational and cultural events for members, as well as emphasizing the importance of Black History Month.
“I think students should be able to learn from teachers who look like them,” said Jerkins. One of the primary goals of the BSU is to encourage conversation among students and faculty. The BSU is the first of its kind in Oak Hall’s history.“With this club, I hope we can show [the community] that there are more of us out there. We are here.” Jalen Scott, Oak Hall Freshman and BSU Events Coordinator, said proudly.
Photos courtesy of Savannah Gilson