District 202 Board members passed a proclamation at their Jan. 27 meeting declaring February as Black History Month at Evanston Township High School.
Board Vice President Pat Savage-Williams read the proclamation aloud, then added, “This is a meaningful month for me. In my heart, I wish we did not have to set aside just one month in celebration but we’re not there yet; this is how we honor [our history now].” The other board members were also given an opportunity to comment. Mark Metz said, “I’m proud to be part of an institution that has taken on racism. [Society’s] got a long way to go, but we’re making progress.” Bill Geiger added that ETHS’s focus on racial issues is “one more way for ETHS to lead the community.”
Students also spoke at the meeting about issues of racial awareness. Members of Minority Student Achievement Network and Students Organized Against Racism reported on efforts the school is making to “support students in building a community of racially conscious and anti-racist leaders.” The two clubs, which will combine efforts and operate as one club moving forward, attend conferences and host events that allow students opportunities to have heartfelt conversations around race and diversity.
“There are definitely times when we don’t see eye-to-eye so we talk about it, we find the truth between both sides,” said Larenz Brown, a student leader. “Evanston loves to talk about diversity. We are walking the talk.”
Moving forward, the students hope to do more outreach with middle schools and community groups.