In Bella Volz-Broughton’s experience, Black History Month was never
really recognized at school while she was growing up. Now, as an
Arcata High senior and president of the school’s Black Student
Union, she and her peers in the BSU are educating their school about
Black history themselves.
never celebrated Black History Month in school. The most that was
ever done was just the simple mention that it was Black History
Month,” Volz-Broughton said in a video posted to the AHS Black
Student Union Instagram
page. “I think BSU is doing a good job of making
video is part of a Black History Month series of 10 lessons created
by the AHS Black Student Union. The presentations come mostly from
BSU students, but their advisor Shannon Kresge and Northern Humboldt
Union School District board member Cedric Aaron chimed in for a
couple of videos as well. From Black figures to white privilege to
the school to prison pipeline, the speakers cover a lot of ground.
systemic racism “affects the Black community is also really
important because that’s not something that white people even have to
think about,” Volz-Broughton told the Outpost. “We just
want our school to be educated on that.”
High’s BSU is young; it started in 2018 when Volz-Broughton was a
sophomore. In the beginning, administrative support was lacking and
the club received backlash from some students, she said, but “it
was very important for the Black students on campus to start having
that place of community.”
then, the club’s agenda has expanded to include educating their
peers and community — a goal that, in the past, has also been met
with pushback, Volz-Broughton said. Last February, the BSU hosted a
few 20-minute assemblies aimed to teach the school about Black
History Month, but it took a lot of effort on the students’ part
for the administration to approve the plan, Volz-Broughton said.
the first day of those presentations, a group of students staged a
pro-Donald Trump demonstration in the parking lot, which whipped up a
flurry of controversy on campus. The Trump-supporting students told
Arcata High’s student-run newspaper, that they didn’t know the
first Black History Month assembly was scheduled for that day, but
other students speculated that the timing seemed intentional.
place of the in-person celebration the BSU hosted last year for Black
History Month, they created the video lessons and posted them on
Instagram throughout the month. This year they’ve received a lot of
support from staff and the community, Volz-Broughton said.
“Obviously, like, in-person a lot more [pushback] happens than
online because people can kind of avoid it more,” she said. “We
haven’t seen much hatred this year towards us, which is very nice.”
Luckily for Humboldt’s non-high school population, these quick AHS BSU lessons are available to all. Be sure to check them out and learn something new about Black history and culture if you haven’t already.