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African American Literature Class Becomes Possible Future Course

Jalah Bates, Staff Reporter

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An African American Literature class is one step closer to being a reality after the Black Student Union met with district administrators at two after school meetings in March.

The district administration must first present and have the class approved by the school board before students can sign up for the class. If the proposed class is adopted in the Fall of 2018, the class will be offered to students in the Fall of 2019.

“We want to aim as a district to bring more diversity into our schools and help be a leader to other schools who are struggling with what we once did.”, said Dentinger.

A student group has been largely responsible for advocating for the establishment of the class.

The Black Student Union supports and affirms  black identity at East and West in the effort to diverse the Wauwatosa school system. This is done this by finding new ways to encourage and help make school comfortable for kids of color as well as helping them succeed in the future as adults.

A club in both Wauwatosa West and East High school created to help support children of color and non-color come together to understand and help one another with everyday struggles and racial challenges.

Currently after all the trials and tribulations, Tosa West and East’s  Black Student Unions had conversations with the school board and superintendent, Dr. Ertl.

Some examples of this include in past years bringing in guest speakers, participating in UWM´s ACLU programs they host every year, organizing the Black History Month assembly each year, as well as helping and giving back to the community by shoveling snow.

A club in both Wauwatosa West and East High school created to help support children of color and non-color come together to understand and help one another with everyday struggles and racial challenges.

BSU was created at Wauwatosa West in 2007 by an African American, by the name of Chris Gaines, as well Caucasian students, Anastasia Williams, and Tina Cannon.

¨The group was proposed  after a racial incident took place, the students became almost fed up with the treatment they were experiencing and seeing¨, said Rebecca Kirchman, Black Student Union Advisor.

BSU has taken numerous steps to help to make the Tosa community better, not just by having a support group, but by empowering students

“Giving a voice to students who need one and who have one and just want and need these problems they face to be spoken out on. And whose better than the youth whom will one day take over the world to show everyone change is okay. Yes, we like our comfort, but we need change, it’s necessary for evolution”, said Junior Ashley Valentine.  

One of the most well known examples of BSU engagement was participating in the learning center ¨sit-in¨ after a when regarding to a conflictive comment made by a Wauwatosa West administrator.

¨I feel once that took place, people began to take us seriously as a group, because from than on up there’s been change, but it’s still more needed.” said Junior Devyn Martins.

The recent chatter has brought up on both schools the proposal of an African  American Lit class. The exact context of the class is yet to be determined do to the recent conversations from students on not wanting to talk about the basics such as slavery, known activist that have been discussed throughout the year as well as the harder times for African Americans Questions were administered to every active BSU member to give their input on the  structure and curriculum of the class.

Before this class an actually become a class it has to be ´adopted’ and the district administration must present and have the class approved by the school board. From there if the proposed class is adopted in the Fall of 2018, the class will be offered to students in the Fall of 2019.

“We want to aim has a district to bring more diversity into our schools and help be a leader to other schools who are struggling with what we once did”, said Dentinger.

Dentinger wasn’t the only one who was excited for the class either.

Kirchman also added, “This class is important to me, it makes me proud to see my students happy, because this is something they worked for and they caused to happen. I want them to feel like they belong in any environment without believing they will be discriminated against especially with Wauwatosa West”.

“I’m proud of us, I understand the class isn’t here yet, but I know we will get it and once we do it’ll cause people to feel some type of way, but we need this, we worked for this. This class is for all of us, not just black students and the teachers that want to teach to help understand their students more, but for everyone who has been through the struggle of wanting to belong. Now we feel like we belong. We belonged all this time, but once this class actually starts, there won’t be any denying we belong here, we all do.” Said Valentine.

“This is going to be a class that represents people’s hearts”, said Wauwatosa School Distrcit Supervisor of Secondary Education David Dentinger.

 

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