Black History assembly will focus on “Poetic Justice”

Program will take place on Feb. 17 in the Welch Activity Center

Black History assembly will focus on Poetic Justice

Nicholas Rodecap, Co-Editor-in-Chief

“How long do you have? I could be here for a couple of days,” said Mr. Ken Barlow ‘82 regarding his response to the question, “Why is it important to have an assembly celebrating Black History Month?” 

The vice president for community relations and diversity emphasized the significance of having evens such as the Black History Month assembly, saying it is imperative “to not only affirm our African-American community but to educate our school holistically. It’s specific to our community here on the Hill, so I think it’s a great affirmation of the accomplishments, not only of yesteryear, but also today.

“I’ve been around helping organize Black History Month assemblies for 12 or 13 years, so I think there’s an affirmation because (it’s really) student-driven,” Barlow said. “The students focus on what they really think is important. I think it not only affirms them, but it brings more understanding to our community for even our majority population of students.” 

This year’s assembly, scheduled for Feb. 17’s activity period, will focus on “Poetic Justice,” as described by director of philanthropic engagement Mrs. Jean Smith ‘97. “We have a lineup of current students and alumni who will be presenting pieces on Black history,” she said. 

The alumni tapped to present at the assembly are Michaela Ivory ‘17 and Gabriel Ratcliffe ‘18, the latter of whom performed poetry at the 2018 national NAACP ACT-SO Competition in San Antonio, Texas, and is a published author. 

Barlow added, “In the past (not every year), we’ve had an alumni component to our Black History assembly. This year, because the theme is poetic justice, we were (familiar and) still in contact with some of our alumni we knew were poets. Gabe Ratcliffe and Michaela Ivory actually shared some of their poetic skills when they were on the Hill, and (Ratcliffe) has written a book of poetry. We just thought it was a great fit for those two.” 

There will also be original works of poetry presented at the assembly. Smith said that in addition to the aforementioned alumni, members of the Black Student Union will host the celebration. Current students will present pieces on Black history, which will be centered around “highlighting Black creatives in a poetry space,” according to Smith. 

Barlow said, “We’re very excited, as we are each and every year, to have an opportunity to have a Black History Month assembly. I think it speaks volumes about our efforts to stay true to our Holy Cross value of inclusiveness and diversity.”