Rye Lake Campus Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month at Rye Lake

Rye Lake Staff, Students Take Part in Third Annual Black History Month Celebration

For the third annual Rye Lake Campus Black History Celebration, students and staff collaborated on a skit about Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The performance took place in the gymnasium, in an area bordered by paintings on poster board of the side and front of a green and yellow Montgomery bus. Against the wall were black and white historical photos of the boycott and a drawing of some of the landmarks and buildings in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Hey, you can’t sit there. Get off the bus,” said teaching assistant Curtis Anderson, who played the driver.

“Why can’t I be treated like everybody else?” asked teaching assistant Janeelia Henry, who played Rosa Parks and was led away by two students who were police officers.

The skit explained how Dr. King stepped in to help and that the boycott continued for 13 months. The courts ruled that segregation violated the equal rights and equal protection guarantees in the Constitution.

Teaching assistant Willie Foster, who played the role of Dr. King, spoke after the skit and read two poems. “Progress has been made over the years, but progress still needs to be made,” he said, citing different areas like equal rights, race, poverty, job opportunity, women’s rights and children’s rights. “Many protests, sit-ins, marches. Like I said, progress still needs to be made and some things may never change, but we need to work together as a family and try to get that change.”

After the performance, students and staff members played a game of Kahoot! Teams answered questions about prominent African Americans who have ties to Westchester County, such as singer/songwriter/actor Stephanie Mills, Vanessa Williams and James Bostic, executive director of the Nepperhan Community Center in Yonkers. The prize for the winning table was a free lunch.

Those who attended perused student artwork and presentations about important figures and achievements in black history that were on display in the gymnasium. Topics included African-American women in sports, Rosa Parks, and prominent scientists and mathematicians.  

Thanks to Mr. Anderson, Ms. Henry, Mr. Foster and the other students and staff members who contributed to the Black History Celebration: teaching assistant Carl Crump, teaching assistant Edith Rivera and students Gernard Newman, Joshua Wolodin, Jasmine Graves, Akira Manning and Kiara Fountain.