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Celebrating Black History Month: SLAM students showcase posters across campus

Spotify links to J. Cole songs make it easy for students to engage with a SLAM poster.

 

On Feb. 5, 2024, the Student Led Anti-Racism Movement (SLAM) class hung up 35 posters around campus to celebrate Black History Month.  The posters focused on Black artists in honor of a yearly theme that is released each year by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). This year’s theme is African Americans and the Arts. The first official Black History Month was recognized in 1976. However, it was originally brought up as an idea by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. He originally put aside the second week in February to celebrate Black history because it coincided with both Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. As a historian, Woodson strived to educate about Black history and culture.

SLAM students planned to create a gallery of posters around the school for the Redwood community to read and view throughout the month. SLAM teacher David Minhondo helped introduce the poster idea to his students.

SLAM students planned to create a gallery of posters around the school for the Redwood community to read and view throughout the month. SLAM teacher David Minhondo helped introduce the poster idea to his students. 

“Through art you expose beauty, joy and love. A lot of art comes from a place of pain and struggle, and whether you are looking at hip hop music or lyrics from rap songs or paintings from the Harlem Renaissance, they all share those commonalities,” Minhondo said.

 The 2024 theme of African Americans and the Arts aims to celebrate Black culture and the history of Black art. Sophomore and first year SLAM student Izzy Kletz worked on dancer Lauren Anderson’s poster.

SLAM student Izzy Keltz poses in the hallway where the posters were once featured.

“[Making the posters] gives a lot of these artists more recognition and creates a relatable figure for people to be like ‘Oh I know who that is’ and learn something new,” Kletz said.

The class was split up into eight different groups that focused on each different form of art. The art forms ranged from music to dance to culinary arts, allowing the SLAM students to learn about Black contributions to each art form. Siena Ledesma, a sophomore and first year SLAM student, was a part of the literature group. She was assigned to create a poster on poet Amanda Gorman, the youngest poet to have spoken at an inaugural address in US history. 

“My favorite part [of the project] was learning about what the artists did. Literature was one of the [topics] I had never really researched before, so I really enjoyed getting to know about Amanda Gorman,” Ledesma said. 

The project gave students an opportunity to research and learn about people they hadn’t heard before. Students like Ledesma shared that they wanted their peers to have the same experience. 

“These posters would be great all year round. I think [they’re] great because when you’re walking the hallway you can read them and learn more about people,” Ledesma said.

SLAM covered popular artists like Beyoncé while equally representing lesser known artists such as Joyner Lucas. As a class they were able to recognize the challenges both types or artists encountered.  

“Growing up in a society that’s against your race is already a hard start in itself, so being famous and in the public eye I’m sure can be really challenging and I think it is important to hear their voices and stories,” Ledesma said. 

Minhondo believes that Black History Month can be used as a powerful education tool in classes other than SLAM. 

“You can learn things that you don’t learn in a typical US history class and deepen your understanding of culture in a way that you might not otherwise,” Minhondo said. 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Audrey Bennett
Audrey Bennett, Reporter
Audrey Bennett is a Junior at Redwood and a reporter for the Advanced Journalism and Media. Audrey enjoys spending time with friends and family and traveling.