To celebrate Black History Month, NormanAid Wellness Center has planned several events as part of its MonthlyAid “Identity & Diversity” February theme. Beverly students in physical education and athletic classes participate in a weekly Wednesday program designed around the 2021 Black History Month theme: “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” Other events include multiple virtual presentations on topics of race, diversity and social justice.
NormanAid’s motto this month is “From Awareness to Advocacy: It Takes a Village.” Derived from an African proverb, it symbolizes collective goals and responsibility toward racial equity.
“‘It Takes a Village’ is an African proverb. We all have a stake in building an inclusive, equitable and just world. Our hope for February and beyond is to have more discussions on how to take awareness into action by Allyship, Advocacy & Activism,” NormanAid counselor Alison Norman-Franks said.
On Feb. 10, students watched and discussed a video presentation by civil rights activist Donzaleigh Abernathy. Her father Ralph Abernathy worked alongside Dr. Martin King Jr. and became a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement.
“BHHS had the opportunity to have Donzaleigh as an assembly speaker three years ago for BHM and I felt so honored to learn about the civil rights movement through her experience,” Norman-Franks said. “Her life began with the bombing of her parents’ home and her father’s First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. She and her siblings witnessed and participated in all of the major Civil Rights Movements and Marches, including the Freedom Riders, the March On Washington, the Selma to Montgomery March for ‘The Right to Vote’ and the Chicago Housing Demonstrations.”
On Feb. 17, students have the opportunity to watch a podcast with guest speaker Len Elmore, a Harvard Law School graduate class 1987, former NBA player, and senior lecturer at the Columbia University Sports Management Program. Elmore shared his insights on the importance of social justice and how students can make impactful choices. Podcast co-host and NormanAid peer counselor senior Nick Kay emphasized the importance of engaging in these conversations at the Beverly community.
“I think students should care about social justice and human rights because they, like everyone else, are members of society…As such a strong generation, it’s important for us to care about things happening in our world even if they don’t directly affect us because what we do have the power to do is inform others about injustice and work together to figure out what we can do to make a difference,” Kay said. “By filming and watching these podcasts, I have been exposed to a variety of stories from dozens of inspirational people, which has really opened my eyes and widened my perspective.”
NormanAid will provide students with another opportunity to discuss social justice and human rights with its Feb. 24 event, “Watch and Discuss: What Are Human Rights?”
“Social justice is about distributing resources fairly and treating all students with respect,” Norman-Franks said. “As Normans, we need to ensure that all students are represented, respected, and feel safe physically and psychologically.”