She walked onto the stage wearing a blue dress and attitude. She owned every bit of who she is – bold, bright, and black. Who could take their eyes off of her, suddenly beautiful? She paused, posed, and moved on.
Black student after black student followed, the bright colours of their outfits matched their smiles as they claimed their share of the spotlight. On this day, black students were the hosts, the performers, the designers, the readers, the models. At this assembly, everyone in the school saw them.
My heart nearly burst with happiness. They did this themselves. They applied for and won $1000 grant. They made many of the clothes from fabric they chose. They booked speakers and artists and prepared their own artistic performances. When a strike day forced us to move the date of the assembly and all – all! – of the guests couldn’t make it, the students planned the whole thing again in less than a week.
Working with these students has shown me their determination and their awareness of what they face because of their skin colour, has made me a better ally, has changed me in ways I never expected. The world had better get ready for these kids. They are coming and they are not interested in anyone trying to hold them back.