The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Black Student Union Spotlight: Celebrating Black History Month

Left to right: Seniors Eliana Aemro Selassie and Zione Yeboah-Amankwah. Aemro Selassie and Yeboah-Amankwah are the student leaders of the Black Student Union (BSU) for the 2022-2023 school year. (Martina Tognato Guáqueta/International Dateline)

The Black Student Union (BSU) is led by seniors Eliana Aemro Selassie and Zione Yeboah-Amankwah and is sponsored by Upper School Narrative Film teacher Micheal McCorkle.

Centered around celebrating Black identity, BSU’s mission is to provide a “platform, as well as an outlet, for students of color, specifically, African American students,” according to McCorkle.

BSU meets during lunch every other week on Thursdays. Meetings begin with a presentation by Aemro Selassie and Yeboah-Amankwah which focuses on a discussion topic or central question. Past presentations have tackled issues ranging from the role of Black athletes to timely events. Afterwards, conversation flows freely, providing a space for all students to participate. 

Aemro Selassie believes that BSU is a necessary safe space due to the low number of Black Upper School students at WIS. Additionally, many of BSU’s members are non-Black students, so the club aims to create a space of education and awareness of the Black experience. 

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BSU members attending the annual BSU holiday party. (Martina Tognato Guáqueta/International Dateline)

Recent conversations within the club have been focused on planning for Black History Month, which started Feb. 1. This year, BSU led a Black History Month assembly on Feb. 2, which featured guest speaker Dr. Herman Beavers.

Beavers is an English and Africana Studies professor at the University of Pennsylvania. At the assembly, he spoke about the role of Black literature in society and his perspective on Black History Month. “We tend to construct [Black History Month] around the achievements of great people, notable people, [but] it tends to push into the background everyday people,” Beavers said. “Who does Black History Month belong to, [and] what is the contribution that people who are not Black can make to the conversation about Black History Month?”

Throughout the rest of the month, BSU will organize events such as weekly advisory trivia competitions and a potential movie night, all centered on embracing Black identity. 

Aemro Selassie and Yeboah-Amankwah’s goal is to make all WIS students feel welcome to attend BSU meetings and participate in discussions. “BSU is for everyone to come and learn about different experiences and people,” Aemro Selassie said. 

By Martina Tognato Guáqueta

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About the Contributor
Martina Tognato Guáqueta
Martina Tognato Guáqueta, Photographer/Fact-Checker
Hi I’m Martina. I am a senior at WIS as well as Head Photographer and Fact-Checker for Dateline. I have been working at Dateline for four years as a photographer and staff writer. I tend to cover stories across a diverse range of topics. Outside from Dateline you can find me in the theater or yelling action behind the camera. 

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