During the month of February, Loyola Academy students had the opportunity to explore and celebrate the contributions of Black Americans to our country and our community. Through powerful displays and reflective activities, Ramblers were encouraged to pause and consider the impact and influence of Black history. This year’s special focus was intersectionality.
A poem by Lucile Clifton read at the start of the daily announcements on Tuesday, February 1, kicked off Loyola’s Black History Month celebration. “Won’t you celebrate with me what I have shaped into a kind of life? I had no model.”
Loyola’s African American Youth Group (AAYG) partnered with a student group or club to release a series of newsletters with insight and inspiration from a variety of fields: Monday, February 28
: AAYG presents "Black Artists." Read the newsletter here
On select days, the cafeteria featured a special menu to celebrate Black history and culture. Signage near ordering stations
educated Ramblers about the history and significance of each dish:
Wednesday, February 9: Jamaican jerk chicken with red beans and rice
Friday, February 11, and Wednesday, February 16: Gumbo with rice
Wednesday, February 23: Macaroni & cheese and fried chickenFriday, February 25
: Shrimp & grits
On Fridays during the passing period before the daily announcements, students enjoyed music from influential Black artists such as Destiny’s Child (“Say My Name”); Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, Beyonce, and WizKid (“BROWN SKIN GIRL”); Aquila (“Vibe for Me [Bob for Me]”); and Marvin Gaye (“What’s Going On”).
Powerful displays of art and messaging throughout the school served as consistent reminders of the month’s meaning and significance. In the main hallway, Loyola’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity (DICE) Club hung up flags from African and Central American countries, like Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. A prominent bulletin board featured a Black art exhibit showcasing the works of Maria McLeod, Admonia Lewis, Carrie Mae Weems, Lois Curtis and Stephen Wiltshire. Another bulletin board told the story of Black Wall Street. Clubs had the chance to decorate classroom doors. Oversized letters carefully arranged in the Piazza greeted students with the esteemed words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
On Wednesday, February 9, and Thursday, February 10, DICE Club hosted a screening and Diversity Dialogue discussion of the film A Most Beautiful Thing (2020) in the theater after school. The documentary chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in the US, largely composed of young men who were in rival gangs from the West Side of Chicago. The film was recommended by Loyola’s own crew team, which brought it to the attention of Assistant Principal for Student Services Mrs. Terri Jackson.
On Friday, February 25, students from AAYG attended the Chicago Archdiocesan African American Heritage Prayer Service at St. Rita. Participating Ramblers included: Mary Wulu, Yvette Mensah, Irene Mensah, Blessed Stephen, Samarah Souffrant, Monique Robinson, Amal diabor, Olivia Meyers, Jaylen Peters, Martine Duplessy, Dina Alemayhu, Danya Mussie, Caleb Wilson, Seven Cook, Kaden Jackson, Noah Tekhle, Kelvin Berko, Sarah Isa, Sarah Adebayo, Sinit Gebrehiwet, Ebenezer Tagro, Mya Allen, Sanchez Bufford, Imutney Boaitey
and Envi Madden
. The group was chaperoned by Ms. Sarah Bennett, Mr. Robert Metellus, Mr. Michael Scott Jr ’12
and Mr. Mike Gregg.
To close out a wonderful month-long celebration, on February 28 the Office of Student Activities offered a special Movie Monday showing of Remember the Titans (2000) starring Denzel Washington, who won a BET Award for best actor in 2001 for his role in the film as coach Herman Boone.
A very special thank you to Director of Student Activities Ms. Melissa Krein and African American Youth Group (AAYG) member Amal Diabor ’23, whose vision for Black History Month 2022 brought many opportunities for meaningful engagement and reflection to the Loyola community.