High School With 18 Black Students Raises Black Lives Matter Flag For Black History Month

ashley.rae | February 2, 2018
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A predominantly white high school in Vermont currently has a Black Lives Matter flag hoisted outside its entrance in order to honor Black History Month and to allegedly make the few black students feel safe.

WCAX reports Montpelier High School now displays a Black Lives Matter flag underneath its American flag. Footage of the flag-raising ceremony shows students sang “We Shall Overcome” and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” The Burlington Free Press claims more than 100 people watched members of the school’s Racial Justice Alliance raise the flag.

Staff members told WCAX the flag was is supposed to represent “safety, opportunity and justice.”

According to the Burlington Free Press, only 18 of the 350 students at Montpelier High School are black.

Joelyn Mensah, the cofounder of the Racial Justice Alliance, said during the ceremony, “People choose their flag because they want to be represented and they want to be seen. We students do not feel like we are seen or represented in our education.”

“When black students go to school, they are fed with two different stories. One story is the school they come to, which is public school, telling them they are not enough," Mensah also told the crowd. “The other story is, we have to take our own initiative to learn on our own stories about ourselves.”

According to WCAX, they had “limited access” to talk to students during the flag-raising ceremony. The only students the crew was allowed to speak to were the ones who supported the flag.

Superintendent Brian Ricca told the Burlington Free Press, “We are proud to do this because it honors the reality that the experience of our … black students is not the same as the experience of our white students.”

“And our goal has been to have a substantive conversation about this, not only in our building but in our community,” Ricca continued.

Attendee Bob Fisher told NBC 5, “I think all the high schools in this country should put up flags that say Black Lives Matter because, unfortunately, European-Americans need to be reminded.”

Addressing opponents of the flag, reports principal Mike McRaith said, “Thank you for understanding that the decision to fly the Black Lives Matter flag this month at Montpelier High School is not anti-police. It is anti-bias.”

“Thank you for understanding that we reject any purported violence associated with Black Lives Matter and embrace the message of equity for all,” he continued.

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