Black Student Union Established

The Black Student Union (BSU) is a new student organization at Northwood School. The first Black Student Union was created on the University of Kansas in 1968. Here at Northwood School, the BSU is made up of American-born students of color.

BSU

Some of the members of the Northwood School BSU at a recent planning meeting in the Multicultural Affairs Office. From left to right: Jazzy Valenzuela ’21, Angie Castillo ’21, Prince Loney-Bailey ’19, Aiden Williams-McCracken ’22, Addie Castillo ’21, Dean of Multicultural Affairs Mr. Kelvin Martinez, and William Vanterpool-Stanford ’22 (Photo: Northwood School)

The main goal of the BSU goal is to raise enough money for a group of students to attend the annual People of Color Conference (POCC) produced by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). According to the POCC website, “the mission of the conference is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. PoCC equips educators at every level, from teachers to trustees, with knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike.”

An important part of the conference is the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), which Northwood’s BSU hopes to attend. According to NAIS, the SDLC is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders (grades 9-12) from across the U.S. and abroad. SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participating students develop cross-cultural communication skills, design effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles. In addition to large group sessions, SDLC “family groups” and “home groups” allow for dialogue and sharing in smaller units.

Northwood’s BSU is advised by Mr. Kelvin Martinez, the Dean of Multicultural Affairs. It was created to help students of color to be comfortable at Northwood and to have a way to express their opinions. It was also created for students to be able to learn about Black history. BSU leaders include: Aiden Williams-McCracken ’22 (President), Addie Castillo ’21 (Vice President), Prince Loney-Bailey ’19 (Secretary), Angie Castillo ’21 (Assistant Secretary), Jazzy Valenzuela ’21 (Event Planner)

To become involved see Mr. Martinez or a BSU leader to learn about the group’s next meeting.

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