Planning Committee Initiated for Black History Month


Gianni Martinez, Associate Editor-in-Chief

As we all know, Black History Month is in February but TUSD has announced their very own planning commitee, specifically for Black History Month. I’ve had the great pleasure of reaching out to the head of African American Student Services, Jimmy Hart, who informed me of this upcoming committee, and when looking for volunteers I arose to the occassion. The purpose of this committee is to recognize the importance and enrichment in teaching all students about Black History. The Tucson Unified School District is committed to diversity and that’s what drives TUSD to engage in more conversations and programs that allow our schools to properly appreciate all and work toward inclusive practices.

In the past, the African American Student Services (AASS) has always been such an amazing part of our school.  They’ve arranged field trips and seminars that discuss the current situations most people don’t know about, and when it comes to college, they’ve helped so many young African American students get scholarships and awards. Jimmy Hart, the director of AASS and I had the chance to discuss what the purpose of this committee is, and how might we begin to make a difference.

Luckily for me, he replied and our first meeting is on October 29, 2020 from 4-5 pm. He goes on to inform me that, “We will meet at least six times leading up to Black History Month” and, “Based on the goals and outcomes of the committee, members may be involved in the implementation of Black History Month activities and events during the month of February.  Once February is over, we may consider a follow-up meeting to discuss outcomes, lessons learned, and feedback for 2022.” This committee will drive TUSD to engage in conversations and promote inclusive practices however, what might these practices include? And will all students be able to participate? He replies with, “The bigger picture of inclusive practices is how we treat each other as humans, how we interact with others – through dignity and respect, and we work to include people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.” As for a closing statement, he goes on to say, “Serving as the Director of African American Student Services, I am honored that we had over 100 people interested in helping to plan Black History Month programming in TUSD.”

I look forward to participating in this committee; even though most meetings will be virtual, I know that together as a community and with some help from the governing board, we can all really make a difference in how our schools represent the Black community. Speaking of the governing board, Sadie Shaw, a TUSD parent, artist, art educator, and an African American woman who advocates art and education for all, happens to be running for the position and just might make an appearance at this virtual meeting. If so, I plan to bombard her with questions and ideas for upcoming events! However be ready for my next appearance when I report back from this meeting.