Deeply Rooted celebrates Black History Month

February is dedicated as Black History Month. Black History Month is a time to honor and reflect the impact African Americans have had on the development of the country and its culture. Celebrating Black History Month in schools is important for promoting cultural awareness and understanding, recognition of diversity and inclusion, empowering students of color, and promoting critical thinking. Jasmine Honicutt ‘23 and Katelyn Grady ‘23 have gone through tireless work in creating the new club Deeply Rooted in hopes of creating an outlet for African American students that is supportive and promotes equality for all students in our school.

“The reason behind creating Deeply Rooted is to create a community among our African-American students and provide an outlet for their voices and ideas to be heard and represented,” Honicutt said.

East Grand Rapids is full of students of all genders, sexualities, nationalities, and races, but it is apparent that the majority of students are white. In the 2023 Public School Review it shows that 84% of EGR students are white, and only 2% of students are Black. As well as 6% of students are of two or more races. 

“This year we have already seen a difference in how our school is celebrating Black History Month. We have put up more decorations than we did last year, we are planning a Black History Month assembly, and providing media through PrimeTime,” Grady said.

Honicutt and Grady look to their club advisor Katie Michell to help find ways for everyone’s voice to be heard. They meet and talk about how our school can address issues, create community, and in hope of creating a black student union again at east. 

“I’ve learned so much since becoming the club advisor. I’ve learned that there are some amazing student leaders in the school, so many different opinions and assumptions as well as experiences with racism in the school,” Michell said. 

This is not Michell’s first go-around with clubs for equality. She’s been involved with organizations toward equity and justice her whole life. 

“I’ve worked with different organizations in the 2000s and the teens then took a break. The name of a group I worked with in the past was called “People of Power”. The purpose of that club was to create a community for black students in the school but also to address some inequities and differences in educational opportunities for black students at East,” Michell said. 

Therefore Deeply Rooted isn’t the first club at East with goals aimed toward uniting the school, but they have a different approach. 

“During meetings we eat together, we talk to each other about experiences, and we share ideas on how to promote awareness and equality,” Honicutt said.

“During the meetings, we don’t really have a set schedule or an outline. We all talk about anything and everything that we feel like talking about. We also bring food every single time because we agree that communion is a big thing when it comes to groups, and we think that sharing food is another great way to bring each other together,” Grady said. 

The assembly is still in the works and is planned to be at the beginning of March. The students of the club alongside their club leaders have been working very hard in organizing and planning as well as finding inspiring speakers to make the first Black History Month Assembly one to remember.   

The club leaders are looking to keep Deeply Rooted in our school for a while. Both Honicutt and Grady are seniors so they have high hopes for the underclassman to continue and take over the work they have just begun. 

“It’s honestly up to the school and the kids who are in the younger grades to decide what happens next for the club. As of right now this year we plan on just making changes and addressing actions to help better unite our school,” Grady said.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Jasmine, Katelyn, or Katie Michell with any questions or interest in joining Deeply Rooted. Anyone is welcome.