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Celebrating Black History Month at City Year Milwaukee 

Black History Month Programming at City Year Milwaukee

 

This February, we are honoring Black history, resilience, and achievement both at the City Year Milwaukee site and in our partner schools. We take Black History Month to learn, reflect and amplify Black voices and are hosting events to explore the stories and legacies that have shaped our world.

At City Year Milwaukee, affinity group staff leads have created several opportunities for our AmeriCorps members and staff to celebrate Black History Month. On January 30th there was a Black History Month Kick-Off event, where attendees played Black History Month Jeopardy and created a timeline of notable events for the Black Community and Black people throughout history. On February 16th, City Year Milwaukee held a Black History Month Movie Night. AmeriCorps members voted for a movie of their choice and the winner was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Those who attended got to enjoy the movie with popcorn, ice cream and juice. All month long, our City Year Milwaukee community is highlighting Black artists by contributing to a collaborative playlist. Keep reading to learn how our AmeriCorps members and school partners are celebrating Black History Month with students!

 

Rockwell Automation Team at Rogers Street Academy

Black History Month has come a long way since its origins of being just a week long in 1926. It has now flourished into the month-long acknowledgment of powerful and inspirational Black people that it is today. At Rogers Street Academy, we started the month by adorning our hallway board with Black people who strived to make a difference in their community. Our AmeriCorps members have been leading their intervention spaces with projects accounting for the many stories of influential figures who helped shape America into the place it is today. Teachers at Rogers Street Academy have been joining in on the spirit by taking time to create projects around those well-known figures.

-Brooklyn Brown, AmeriCorps member on the Rockwell Automation Team at Rogers Street Academy

 

Clarke Street School

Here are some things that have been going on at Clarke Street School during Black History Month. The fifth grade classroom students are writing a biography project about Black inventors.  Students are to research a person of their choice they and put all their information in an All About Me paper. You are probably wondering what we are doing whole school-wide! We are having a Black History Assembly the first week of March. In the City Year room, there are two doors made for Black History Month. Our main door consists of ‘What is your Dream?” Students got to write their own dreams. Also in the City Year room, Deanna Killiebrew made a board where she writes Black history facts each day, and students get to see what happened that day in history.

-Deanna Killiebrew, AmeriCorps member at Clarke Street School

 

Harold S. Vincent High School

At Harold S. Vincent High School, our Vikings are celebrating Black History with all the love, mindfulness, and recognition befitting the month! To set a lighthearted tone across the school, VHS staff organized a door-decoration contest, and extended the competition to our City Year team currently in the thick of designing! As for students, they’ve been particularly encouraged to spend some time checking out the school’s African Arts Club, focusing on a variety of traditional, digital and performative arts to help empower and promote their importance in today’s landscapes. In class, many in Vincent’s 9th grade English course were assigned to complete a powerful essay describing the ways in which words help to inspire change in the world; students have drawn on the inspiration of noble activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, Miriam Makeba, amongst many more. In the City Year room, we’ve delightfully kept up a “Fact of the Day” running all month long, with each day posing a new fact pertaining to influential Black figures and organizations students may not have known about. And with February soon drawing to a close, we Vikings still have one more school-wide assembly planned at the end of the month; more information is still to come, but students and staff alike will be showing off a number of performances in dedication to Black History in the hope of uniting the school community through the good and the bad to come.

-Dawson Jollie, AmeriCorps member at Harold S. Vincent High School

 

Julia A. Uihlein Team at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School

This Black History Month at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School we have been honoring the legacy of those who have come before and the lasting impact of their work. The City Year door was decorated with a mix of both Valentines’ day and Black History Month designs. This meant various important figures in Black History such a Fredrick Douglass appeared on the door as well as individuals of Afro-Latino backgrounds such as Neil deGrasse Tyson. In the middle school, there is a door decorating competition with the theme of Black History Month. For example Mr. Chavez’s class is doing Harriet Tubman for their door with various pieces of art from all the students working together. At the same time, the class is learning about figures from Black History.

-Max Cade, AmeriCorps member on the Julia A. Uihlein Team at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School

 

Bay View High School

Black History Month has been an amazing month so far and continues to get better. The City Year team at Bay View High School has decorated our door to represent empowerment of the Black students at our school. In the freshman citizenship classes, the students have been watching videos about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his impact on the Civil Rights Movement. The week of February 20th to 23rd is the Black History Spirit Week.

-Ian Mueller, AmeriCorps member at Bay View High School

 

Dr. George Washington Carver Academy of Mathematics and Science

At Dr. George Washington Carver Academy of Mathematics and Science the staff have been facilitating several one-of-a-kind projects in celebration of Black History Month. The middle school classrooms have gotten the chance to participate in creating their own classroom quilts. Ms. Harris, the previous Carver librarian, and long-time quilter has been sharing her wisdom with our scholars on the rich cultural history of quilting in African American history. As they have been learning about the reasoning behind the patterns, colors, and materials that have been used over decades and decades of quilt making, they have been carefully designing their own quilt squares that will all be sewn together to create a beautiful masterpiece.

At the beginning of the month, Mr. Furman, our fab lab technician, brought together a group of scholars to create posters highlighting a prominent individual from Black History of each scholar’s choosing. They were to design their own digital template from scratch using photos, words, stickers, etc. on a website called Canva. They look spectacular! Each one is unique and was carefully thought out with special detail to their achievements. I had the chance to watch some of those who needed to finish their piece, place their final touches and see the printing process tasked to two eighth-grade scholars. They currently adorn the gym wall on display for all to admire as they wait in the lunch line.

Mr. B, our noble music instructor, has been working diligently with scholars on what is sure to be another joyous program that will take place on February 28th from 2pm-6pm. Following a short special presented by our choir group, there will an art gallery walk-through that will include all the projects scholars have been working on throughout this month and light refreshments as both scholars and families meander through and appreciate the artistic pieces crafted by our very own capable and brilliant, Carver Cougar scholars.

City Year adorned our classroom door with an aesthetic collage of magazine photos celebrating the beauty and power of Black and brown individuals. Ms. Annalee and Ms. Elia took the lead and brought along students in the process as they carefully placed each picture to create a masterpiece. We also created our own version of a Black History quilt on the bulletin outside our room. Each AmeriCorps member was given the task of creating about 5 quilt pieces each. Several of us asked our students to participate in the project, giving them the liberty to choose who they wanted to research. I enjoyed working with my 6th and 7th grade students as we learned together about Queen Diambi Kabatusila, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bessie Coleman, Fritz Pollard, and Sojourner Truth. They even found a way to trace the people using the light from their computer underneath their piece of quilt paper, they are so innovative! We also created a bulletin board at the main entrance that we titled “Black Excellence in Milwaukee”, where we highlighted some of our own Black and Brown leaders right in our neighborhood. We also chose 1-2 students from each of our classrooms to feature on the board for their contribution to Black Excellence here at Carver. It was a tough decision for each of us to choose! I called on other teachers and staff to nominate students they felt were hidden gems displaying noble character, kindness, perseverance, and dedication. It was so fun sharing the news with the students that were chosen and the brightness they showed when they heard the news.

-Eliassah Larson, AmeriCorps member at Dr. George Washington Carver Academy of Mathematics and Science

 

Chavez Cardinals Team at South Division High School

South Division High School has been giving our students Black History Month trivia questions daily since the beginning of February. This consists of past and present events, persons, art, music, and even dance questions centered around Black excellence and history. Our students have taken a liking to the questions as they get a snack if they answer the question right. It also encourages them to do their own research and dig deeper into Black History. There’s a new question every day and it’s done on a dry erase sheet the hangs on the Black History Month decor on our City Year office door. We are also anticipating South’s very own Black History program that will showcase a myriad of Black talent and celebrate Black History and excellence.

-Daijanae Lovett, Third-Year AmeriCorps member on the Chavez Cardinals Team at South Division High School

 

Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education

In the 6th grade classroom, my partner teacher has the students working on a Black History poster. The students will be making 6 little facts posters about a famous Black person that contributed to Black History. They will then put the posters into a TikTok-like frame setting as if their history person had a TikTok. As they are working on the assignment, I’m in the process of making a Black History Month art project. I’m making a poster that reads Black History Month in the colors of African Flag with a Black Lives Matter Fist above it.

-Corey Thompson, AmeriCorps member at Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education

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