Athens Drive Black and Brown Student Union pushes for change

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Photos by Athens BBSU via instagram

Neaveh Brooks, junior, is a rising star who submitted 5 pieces to the Athens Blueprints

Athens Drive High School is home to about 2,000 students from all over the country, and even the world. About half of these students are people of colour. Athens has students from all types of social classes, religions, cultures, and backgrounds. Following the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, the students of colour at the school came together and started the Black Student Union (BSU). 

“Last year during our virtual year, a couple students [who have now graduated] started the club as BSU which was Black Student Union and this year we are trying to continue what they started here,” said Nevaeh Brooks, junior and BBSU officer. 

The club later changed their name to Black and Brown Student Union (BBSU) to include more people of colour who have faced similar injustices. Now they strive to create a community of students who feel safe and welcomed by people who have similar experiences.. They use their discussions to educate the student body about issues that affect the black and brown students of Athens. They believe that it is impossible to move forward as a school if students don’t understand each other.

“Our last couple meetings were about the stigma around mental health and generational trauma, we’ve had HBCU and PWI college sessions, and we’ve held information booths during our lunches to get our students engaged in what we’re trying to do in the school,” said Brooks.

Kiyon Brown(centred) attending the Black and Brown Student Union’s HBCU and PWI college information session. (Photos by Athens BBSU via instagram)

A common misconception is that a person cannot join the club if they are not a person of colour. In reality, anyone is welcome to join the club. It’s a place where people come to learn about other cultures and perspectives as black and brown people in America. It is even encouraged for anyone, from any background, to go to a meeting. The club’s purpose is to spread awareness and education about injustice and inequality in today’s society to all sorts of demographics. 

“Our meetings, if you’ve attended them, then you know that we’ve had great conversations there. We are making others aware of the inequalities… in the world. We prepare them for colleges and what to expect with the application process. We teach them that not everything white is always good and not everything black is always bad,” said Kennedy Truitt, Sophomore and BBSU Vice President.

The BBSU has done several fundraisers to raise money for charities to help the underprivileged in the area. The most recent of these fundraisers has been for Livable Raleigh. The fundraiser is raising money for sustainable housing for Raleigh residents. They lend aid in housing, environment, and growth. Their number-one goal is the health and safety of all residents in the Raleigh area.  BBSU has held several fundraisers that have been huge successes. With these fundraisers being successful, BBSU has received a lot of attention. 

“I think a major accomplishment that we’ve done this year is get our students engaged. Over the last few years, we didn’t see many of our black and brown students participating in school events, but this year with BBSU, we’ve grown so much and we’ve reached so many people in the school in such a short amount of time,” said Brooks.

Miko Bikeren(left), Flavien Kweyi(centre), and Anna Mwamba(right) showing off their cultural roots during the BBSU spirit week on 10 February. (Photos by Athens BBSU via instagram)

Both Brooks and Truitt believe that BBSU is achieving its goal in education of inequality and helping the black and brown community find their voices. With new fundraisers and new ways to get people involved, the BBSU has become an Athens Drive sensation. They went from being unknown to being in ATV each morning, running their own spirit week, and hosting college information sessions. The club’s hope is that their message will not go unheard with the amount of noise the club is making. 

“Your black is beautiful. you are black, you should be proud. Your ethnicity, you should be proud. You are beautiful,” said Truitt.