Black Student Union Represents WHS

Michael Thomas, Editor

Woodbridge High School totes a high minority populace, reflected by a multitude of clubs representing those groups. Though, until now, black students weren’t.

This hole was able to be filled as the Woodbridge School District set in motion more DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) measures, said Ms. Cruz, a Speech-Language Pathologist, member of the Equity Team and Diversity Council, and Black Student Union club advisor at WHS.

With the encouragement of WHS administrators, Ms. Cruz began to attend BSU meetings at Colonia High School and coordinated with members of the WHS Diversity Council, who shared a common desire to start a BSU at WHS.

After planning and promotion, Ms. Cruz says, “The word spread like wildfire,” with the club having thirty-six members after only three meetings.

Officially, the vision statement of the club is “The Black Student Union’s vision is to provide a safe space for students of all ethnicities and backgrounds to unconditionally and unapologetically engage, elevate, and educate the school community in all aspects of the black experience.”

The thoughts and ambitions expressed by Ms. Cruz, Stephanie Beresford, a Sophomore Secretary, and Mehar Kaur, a Junior Program Manager, reflect that vision.

Beresford expresses a BSU goal to be “a safe and confidential space for everyone that encourages courageous conversations…”

During this prefatory patch in the club’s existence, confusion about its motives and even eligibility arose, leading to erroneous information being proliferated throughout the school, viz., only black students can participate in the club.

On the matter, Cruz said, “…it would be illegal (and in my opinion immoral) to exclude ANY student from participating in ANY school club because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political views, personal beliefs, etc.”

She added, “While the focus of this group is indeed the black experience, students of all backgrounds are not only welcome, but encouraged to join and be a part of the conversation… Every voice deserves to be heard!”

As the school year progresses, the BSU has a wide array of events and activities to fundraise and raise awareness of its goals.

Beresford promotes upcoming spirit week activities, including 70’s and 90’s decades days and a Zumba/Hip-Hop class, with Ms. Cruz adding the event will be taught by a certified instructor.

Other plans include clothing, food, and donations drives, according to Kaur.

All three interviewees specified the club is welcome to all and all opinions, with Beresford expressing “that it’s okay if your opinion differs from someone else’s. Nobody agrees all of the time… Words and actions can both be hurtful, and minding them is the most important thing you can do to make somebody feel safe and valued.”

Kaur added the BSU “is a place which wants everybody to feel free and not get hurt by how they are viewed in others’ visions.”

The BSU will meet twice per month in the “ACE” Room after school. For queries regarding the club, refer to Ms. Cruz’s webpage and join the BSU Google Classroom with class code “rtp3fla”.