Editorial: Black History Month Was Forgotten at Highline High School

A Highline High School student wrote the following article. The views expressed here do not reflect the views of Highline Public Schools or Highline High School. 

Editorial: Black History Month Was Forgotten at Highline High School
Evaya Mcafee-Coe

Seattle Times: MLK Jr. Way

Last Updated: March 5, 2019 11:14 am

Throughout the month of February, Highline has done only one thing to honor Black History Month and Black students. On February 26th, Highline had a Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly.

By law, our school is required to have at least two school wide assemblies; a Veterans Day assembly and a Martin Luther King Jr. Day assembly. While Highline has technically held  both assemblies, HHS did not hold an Assembly to celebrate Black History Month. Instead, HHS, which failed to have an MLK Day assembly in January, celebrated MLK Day by holding its MLK Assembly a month late. The MLK Day was initially cancelled or “postponed” in January due to no communication or planning, between Mr. Hernandez and ASB. However, BBSU, who played a role in having a third of the 30 minute assembly, held up their end by creating the “Who Can Use the N-Word?” mini-documentary. Also, as of the day before the assembly was supposed to happen, there was very little work done for it.

At the assembly on February 26th, Martin Luther King was only briefly mentioned by one of our Co-Principals, Mr. Holloway. For an assembly dedicated to  MLK, you would think he would be honored and not just briefly mentioned. The assembly could have easily been a teaching moment for a lot of students, considering a lot of students learn in different ways, not just textbook work (which is really common in social studies). Overall, Dr. King’s legacy and vision was for all people and believed in nonviolent resistance, which was not portrayed throughout the assembly.

Even though Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. does play an important role in Black history, there are so many other leaders and movements that have also impacted Black history like Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and even Michelle and Barack Obama, The Black Lives Matter Movement, and The Montgomery Bus Boycott. Is it fair to combine two assemblies, both concerning Black culture, history and people, for convenience when they honor different things? No. it is not.

This lack of separation of subjects truly shows how little this school values Black culture, people, history, legacy, and future. How do we expect Black students to feel accepted as individuals if this school fails to  even honor them during a month dedicated to them? Is it fair to do more for Breast Cancer Awareness Month than Black History Month? Is Highline truly okay with supporting an ideology that students of color are only worth honoring when they are the stars of sports teams, or when they can sing or dance well? Is Highline okay with only honoring  Black students for their ability to entertain? I sincerely hope Highline realizes the impact little things can have.