Students Celebrate African American Pride Week

Students Celebrate African American Pride Week

West Potomac’s Black Student Union spreads awareness.

Students at West Potomac High School are spreading awareness of African American History Month by hosting events and activities that promote African American culture and history.

West Potomac’s Black Student Union, a club dedicated to raising awareness to African American culture and issues, kicked off Pride Week on Jan. 31 with a performance by actress Morgan McCoy.

McCoy starred in the one-woman play “Evolution of a Black Girl,” and members of the Black Student Union performed a dance.

According to faculty advisor Shari Terry, the Black Student Union has about 30 members and is in its first year. “I don’t think any other schools in the area have one,” Terry said. “I’m still trying to figure out why.”

Terry said that Pride Week is about spreading awareness about African American culture at West Potomac. “If each member can reach at least one person, then the goal is reached,” Terry said.

Club members stressed that Black Student Union and Pride Week is not just for black students. “We just want to bring awareness to African American history and culture,” said Martha Bervell, a senior at West Potomac and secretary of the Black Student Union. “The week is for everybody; it doesn’t exclude anyone.”

Monday, Feb. 3 was designated Pride Day, in which students were encouraged to dress as their favorite African American icon.

Senior Gifty Adjei dressed as Janelle Monae because she loves Monae’s music. The club’s vice president Sandra Adade dressed as Denise from The Cosby Show because she likes her style. Bervell and fellow Black Student Union member Ayaan Mayers dressed as members of the girl group TLC.

“I dressed as Lisa Lopez from TLC because I really like her style,” Mayers said. “Plus, TLC really paved the way for other girl groups to be successful.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 4, West Potomac students signed a banner in the cafeteria showing their support for African American History.

The Black Student Union designated Wednesday, Feb. 5 as Heritage Day. Students were encouraged to dress in African American apparel. On Thursday, Feb. 6, the Black Student Union will screen “42,” a movie about African American baseball player Jackie Robinson.

On Friday, Feb. 7, African American music will play over the speakers during class changes and lunch.

According to Bervell and other Black Student Union members, Pride Week and African American History Month in general are about erasing ignorance.

“I still see a lot of ignorance at school,” Bervell said.

Group members said most social groups at West Potomac are divided by race, but that it’s not usually intentional.

“It just happens, because you have a lot in common,” Adjei said.

The Black Student Union is currently planning an international night with other cultural groups, and will continue raising awareness to the contributions of African Americans.

Residents of Mount Vernon looking to observe African American History Month can visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon and take a Slave Life at Mount Vernon tour, now through Feb. 28. The tour examines life as a slave at Mount Vernon.


West Potomac High School seniors and Black Student Union members Sandra Adade, Ayaan Mayers, Gifty Adjei, Stephanie McRinnon, Martha Bervell, and faculty advisor Shari Terry dressed as their favorite African American icon on Pride Day as part of African American Pride Week.


Members of the Black Student Union at West Potomac High School gather together after performing a dance at their African American Pride Week kickoff event.