Black History Month Assembly by Ugochi Egonu

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking. (Photo by Julian Wasser//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

“We gon’ be alright!” Kendrick Lamar’s confident voice accompanied by a smooth saxophone blasts from the speakers as students trickle into Dominican Hall. When everyone finally settles down, a line of young black students walk onto the stage. “Black history is so much more than oppression. It’s about the resilience under that oppression. It’s about the culture, the diversity, the spirit of black people. We are essential to America’s progress and culture.”

These powerful words are spoken by Ogechi Egonu, founder of the Black Student Association (BSA) at San Domenico. This kicks off San Domenico’s Black History Month event. Sophomore Nia Cofer sports a shirt that reads “Dream like Martin. Lead like Harriet. Fight like Malcolm. Think like Garvey. Write like Maya. Build like Madam C.J. Speak like Frederick. Educate like W.E.B. Believe like Thurgood. Challenge like Rosa”. That is exactly what these students did.

A few talented students performed spoken word pieces and music by notable black artists. Then, BSA split the audience into multiple stations to learn about black culture. They decided to highlight arts and entertainment, politics and food, which had a particular West African theme to showcase the diversity within the black community.

Afterwards, many non-black students said that this event “is necessary” and that these topics are important to touch on. One international student remarked, “I am a foreign student and when I came to America the only famous people I knew where white. Now I know that there are so many things that we wouldn’t have without black people.” This was especially important for a predominantly white school in Marin County, a place where black people seem to be a rare sighting.

 This is not the first time that San Domenico held a black history month event, but it is the first time that it was sponsored by our very own Black Student Association. Egonu founded the BSA as a place to talk about issues within the black community and celebrate blackness. The BSA and events like Black History Month have made a significant impact on the black community within SD and the student community as a whole. History teacher Ian Sethre said that the first class he taught at San Domenico had a mere two black students. When he showed those two students pictures of last year’s Black History Month Assembly, one of the alums teared up at the improved representation and diversity at SD. Stories like these show that although San Domenico still has a long way to go, we have come so far as a community.