iDream Churchill strives to commemorate Black history


Photo courtesy of Amanda Kossoff

2021-22’s Black History Month mural created by the iDream Churchill Club was created to spread awareness towards the WCHS students about African American history. It was made to show the importance of BHM and the many lives that have been impacted throughout the years.

By Kendyl Groisser, Assistant Online Editor

Slavery, segregation and police brutality are all struggles that black Americans have faced throughout history and still face today. Black History Month (BHM) serves as a celebration of black culture and acknowledgment of what they have endured. This year’s Black History Month, themed “Black Resistance,” will highlight the ongoing oppression that African Americans have experienced and how they have been able to resist it. 

By living so close to Washington DC, WCHS students have easy access to one of the biggest hotspots for BHM events. Most of these events are meant to raise awareness,gain more support for a specific organization or give the general public more knowledge about the black community and what they are/have gone through. The iDream Churchill club at WCHS has taken action for the month of February by raising awareness for BHM and what it symbolizes by creating a mural of important historical black figures.

“iDream Churchill is teaming up with the Churchill Minority Scholars Program to create a beautiful mural of iconic black figures for Black History Month,” WCHS senior and founder/co-president of the iDream Churchill club, Amanda Kossoff said. “Hung next to the Media Center or the Bulldog lobby, thousands of students will stop by to take a look and learn about modern influential African Americans.”

The 2023 BHM theme of “Black Resistance” is meant to show how African Americans have been faced with bone-chilling oppression; especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings. This month is meant to give power to the people and create an environment where black Americans feel represented. With this in mind, BHM is only a stepping stone for the progression that the black community should be moving toward in order for them to be treated equally.

“The most important aspect of BHM is to recognize that acknowledging iconic black figures or black contributions to society should not end after 28 days,” MCPS senior and former participant of the Black Student Union (BSU) Committee, Jade Frenche said. “It should be a continual effort and practice throughout the year. Also, the month should also be focused on anti-Black racism and investigating racial inequity.”

WCHS can still do more to get involved throughout the month of February. Teachers can implement black history lessons into their lesson plans. It is important for students to acknowledge the full history from different points of view as well as the figures that symbolize it. There are numerous ways that WCHS can incorporate black history into its community. 

“I’ve seen other schools implement a person of the week, which are Black contributors, influencers, athletes, activists, writers, leaders, scientists, etc.” Kossoff said. “In some of their classrooms, workshops on hip-hop history, Scholastic developed 13 cross-curricular activities for teachers, virtually visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture.”

These are just a few ways WCHS could get more involved. There are even more ways as well including going to DC and participating in various protests, listening in on the different organizations and overall raising awareness for the past events and learning how to ensure injustice like that does not happen again. 

“The Black Student Union has a BHM program for Black students to participate in,” Frenche said. “Singing, dancing, spoken words, talent shows and visual arts are just a few of the opportunities that they can show off to an audience about their specific background. In previous years students have even talked about their personal experiences being a black student in an MCPS system.” 

MCPS allows their African American students to showcase their talents and be themselves to their community in various different ways. It is important for students to understand more about the modern-day black experience. This makes BHM so important because the more people who are paying attention, the more people are ready and willing to truly understand. 

“We featured 14 prominent Black figures who stood against injustice and created impactful change, including August Wilson, Augusta Savage and Sidney Poitier,” Kossoff said. “After seeing profound discussions in the hallway and a large turnout at MSP’s Cultural Night, I am optimistic about our school’s new welcoming of multiculturalism.”

The iDream Churchill club has made lasting effects on WCHS on how they celebrate BHM. They have been able to show students the iconic figures that have made Black History and how they have impacted the black community. These murals that they have been decorating the hallways with have gained support and increased awareness throughout the WCHS community. 

“Overall, BHM is a way to recognize key contributions of African Americans,” Frenche said. “Especially because they have been neglected throughout American history.”

MCPS schools have strived to bring diversity to their communities, especially throughout BHM. 

Students are taught only about the bad parts of black history in school and what dreadful events African Americans have gone through. They are taught about slavery and segregation and overall mistreatment of the African American community throughout history. However, there is more to black history than just the negatives. During BHM, black students and faculty can come together in order to teach people about the positive parts of black history, the parts that history classes should be teaching.  

“BSU and the library at Wootton High School collaborate to highlight black authors,” Frenche said. “Together, we are shedding some light on the good things that African Americans have done throughout history.”

WCHS students and staff alike should, for at least the month of February, try to do more for the BHM movement. Whether it is helping out with the iDream Churchill mural, implementing a new curriculum that focuses more on Black History than just what is in the textbooks or creating new clubs, WCHS should try to do more for the black community and uplift black voices in the process.

“Churchill has unfortunately frequently made news for acts of hate, prejudice, and racism over the last few years,” Kossoff said. “To me, it seemed necessary to create meaningful conversation and educate the Churchill community to hopefully stifle such acts, while empowering and raising awareness about Black History Month.”