Celebrating Black History Month is ‘step in right direction’

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Hillsborough High School’s Black Student Union was formed as a way to create connections and unity within a relatively small population of Black students in the district.

Members attended the Hillsborough Township Committee meeting on Feb. 13 as part of the township’s celebration of Black History Month. They shared why the month is important to them and their experiences as a Black student.

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“Mr. (Superintendent of Schools Michael) Volpe and I had a conversation and thought it was the best opportunity for some of our children in Hillsborough to accept the proclamation for Black History Month and share their experiences,” Mayor Robert Britting Jr. said.

“It’s a great opportunity for the children to not only public speak but share their experience and really partake in this month’s festivities.”

Volpe said one of the things they strive to do in the Hillsborough Township Public Schools is to make sure that “every child is seen, every child is known, and every child is heard” regardless of what that is.

“One of the things we did this year is we have a Black Student Union,” he said.

The Black Student Union came out of an idea in November 2022 to combat the isolating feeling with very few Black students in the classroom.

“Our goal for our club was to create a safe space for Black students who could look around the room and see people who looked like them,” one of the co-founders shared. “A way to create connections and unity within a relatively a small population of Black students here at Hillsborough High School while also making sure Black students’ voices would and could be heard.”

Members said celebrating Black History Month is a step in the right direction.

The special vision of Black History Month started by the African American historian Carter G. Woodson and Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

In 1926, they established Negro History Week in the schools and communities aimed to highlight the often overlooked achievements and contributions to society by African Americans throughout history. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month. Since then it has been celebrated not only in the U.S. but also by Canada and the U.K.

Black History Month serves as a reminder by importance of understanding and appreciation of the diverse experiences and perspectives that Black Americans offer to society.

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