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The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

Celebrating culture

SHS students establish the school’s first ever Black Student Union
Salem Ortega-Morales
Senior Tazaria Duncan and juniors Rihanna Fields and Devyon Green lead the Black Student Union meeting in sponsor Conner in McNeely’s room on Dec. 13. The main activity of the meeting was to discuss aspects of black culture.

“It was just an idea at first,” junior Devyon Green said.

Junior Rihanna Fields sat in her Spanish class. As she was conversing with her best friend Tazaria Duncan and her teacher Conner McNeely about school clubs, an interesting thought arose.
That was the idea that would eventually blossom into a community.Fields had realized that there had never been a Black Student Union at SHS. She had seen many other unions on social media, and she wondered what it would take to start one here. She shared her thoughts with McNeely and her peers, but shortly after brushed it aside.
But the idea was such a hit that for the next two months, teachers were encouraging her to pursue the club. Even though Fields was aware of the time and effort founding the union would require, she eventually decided to take hold of the idea.
When she did, she soared.

BSU Co-Founder and Vice President Ariyah Mitchell introduced the Dec. 13 meeting. (Salem Ortega-Morales)

“A student asked, ‘Why don’t we have a BSU?’ I said, ‘Start one,’” McNeely said.
Getting the union up and running was a difficult task. She had to find a team just as passionate and willing to dedicate their time to the union as her if she wanted to be successful.
Luckily, she found her vice president, junior Ariyah Mitchell. Together, they were able to work with McNeely to get sponsors, and the club started.

“It was a lot of work that actually went into it to actually get the club up and running,” Fields said.

Since Fields and Mitchell both have jobs, it was hard to balance all of the planning with their jobs and homework. But with time management and support from their sponsors, they were finally able to host their first call out meeting on Nov. 7.
At first, the small area of McNeely’s room was large enough to hold the amount of people there. They have had three meetings since then, and the union now has about 20 people.
Although the union will likely outgrow the classroom by the end of the school year, they are happy about the amount of people they have gained.
Green was one of the students that Fields reached out to and asked to be on the committee. Since then, he has found that he feels understood by the people in the community.

“I think it was just very nice that I could talk to people like me about problems that I might have,” Green said.

Senior Raven Fields discusses Black culture with fellow members. (Salem Ortega-Morales)

That is one of the reasons behind the BSU: to help people find each other and connect. But Fields’ goals do not stop there.
She hopes to one day collaborate with other BSU’s and fuse their ideas together. She hopes to get new ideas that can inspire not just current students, but students that will join in the years to come.
“The goal is really to make it grow and to let it stick in SHS,” Fields said.
Aside from the club aspects of it, Fields wanted to make the union to help spread black representation to SHS.
Perry Township is one of the most diverse districts in Indiana. With that said, many people of color face discrimination at school every day.
This is what the union hopes to help with. Although it started from one idea, it has turned into a positive space for many.
“The main goal is to create a community for all students and also a safe space to talk about diversity,” Mitchell said.

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About the Contributor
Sophie Barnes
Sophie Barnes, News Reporter
Hey! I’m Sophie Barnes, and I am brand new to The Journal as a news writer. I am a sophomore, and this is my first year on staff. I was never really interested in writing for the school before I took journalism, but after the class I knew it was something I wanted to do. Besides Journal, I am on the Varsity cheer team here at SHS. I also have been dancing at The Dance Refinery for 13 years. Although I compete in almost all styles, my favorites are tap, hip hop and ballet. When I am not at practice, I love to listen to music. I guess I am one of those people who say they like all types of music, because my playlists are always changing. Lately I have been listening to a lot of ABBA and classic rock. I also love watching movies, especially with my mom. Some of our favorites are “Clueless,” “Mamma Mia!” and “Pitch Perfect.” My favorite food is definitely Cheez-Its, I could eat a box a day. I like white cheddar ones, but the original ones are such a classic. Anyways, I am super excited to be on staff this year!

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