Students performed a Black History Month show on Friday, Feb. 16. The event was followed by a Soul Food Dinner in the cafeteria.
Seniors Samaya Brown and Abdishakur Mire spent the first two trimesters leading their own inquiry into themes and topics around black history and identity. On Feb. 16, they and 40 other student participants presented their research through theater performance, documentary, spoken word, and dance.
Like past years this process of participatory action research begins with students drawing on their experiences, asking each other, what's missing? What do they want to explore? What absent narratives should other students be exposed to? This year’s research began as a conversation around about their personal experiences in education and the importance of studying parts of history that are left out of current textbooks. Seniors Samaya Brown and Maidah Ali were inspired after watching Minnesota Historical Society’s Rondo Oral History Project in History Uncensored! class.
Their initial research began with the idea of a the Rondo Community being destroyed but, after speaking to Professor Mahmoud El-Kati, author of The Myth of Race the Reality of Racism, they began digging deeper into “what is the meaning of community, and can a community be destroyed if the memories and relationships are still there?” Abdishakur Mire and Deka Omer interviewed members of the Rondo community, elders and young folks. They created a documentary about how do they find community in Roseville? How is this different from Rondo? What is the significance of Philando being born in Rondo and dying in the Roseville school district?
From this research Abdishakur Mire wrote a 10 part play about two boys growing up, one living the greater Roseville area and one in Rondo. Through the eyes of the boys we will learn how a community remains after it’s perceived destruction.
Student leaders and participants hope that audience members will be entertained, as they are learn through a culturally relevant, responsive, and critical presentation on historical and modern events that shape the experience of black students. Students believe that black history is American History and should be part of curriculum year round. This is their opportunity to help provide that.