Black Lives Matter flag flies over San Diego Unified headquarters
A Black Lives Matter flag is now flying over the San Diego Unified School District headquarters in University Heights.
Students from elementary, middle, and high schools raised the flag Wednesday morning to mark the start of Black History Month.
Several of them spoke at the flag-raising ceremony on the significance.
Cory Colquitt is a third grader at Ocean Beach Elementary. He said, “It doesn’t always feel great learning about the bad and unfair things that happened to Black people. But it’s important to learn about it.”
The board of trustees decided to raise the Black Lives Matter flag to show the district's commitment to diversity and equality across all campuses.
Some students shared their personal experiences with discrimination and harassment in school.
Stephanie Adegeye,12, is in seventh grade at Millennial Tech Middle School. “Being a Black person is an ongoing journey, but you can never ever give up," she said.
At their last meeting on January 24th, board trustees passed a resolution recognizing the contributions made by Black Americans to the development of culture, communities, and nation.
They also acknowledged the reality students of color face in the current climate of fatal police shootings and disproportional arrests made by officers.
“As many of them said, it has been a challenge for them individually. I myself struggled with identity growing up, and I am proud of who I am today because of educators," said the district's superintendent, Lamont Jackson.
While the BLM flag is a symbol of celebration, there are some Black education leaders who say there is still plenty of work to be done, especially when it comes to social justice and education here in California.
The current state budget has $300 million earmarked to help students who receive free or reduced school lunches. Governor Newsom proposed the spending to give children living in poverty support in closing the educational gap.
But that excludes almost 350,000 children of color who are not in poverty, and have fallen behind their white classmates who receive free or reduced lunch.
Ramona Bishop is the president and CEO of ELITE Public Schools, a charter program in the San Francisco Bay area catering to children of marginalized communities.
“When you really analyze the data, it is not a factor whether or not students have wealth or are middle class. It is a factor of whether you are Black right now in school," Bishop said.
Meanwhile, the flag ceremony Wednesday morning also included stories of hope from students.
Henry Anderson III is a seventh grader at Millennial Tech Middle School with big plans to be a lawyer someday.
"Just like Barack Obama, he was a lawyer before he went into office. I’m going to start in my community as a lawyer, and if I become a prestigious lawyer, I feel it would be easy for me to become president," he said.
The district has several other community events planned throughout the month honoring Black History.