Black History Heroes – February 10, 2016

At a recent Beechwood event, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Jason and Michaun Auzenne whose daughter Jala is in our 6th grade class. During our conversation, Jala’s dad asked me what plans Beechwood had to celebrate Black History Month. His question served as a reminder to me that this is an important time, not just for the African American members of our school community but for the Beechwood community as a whole.

Therefore, throughout the remainder of the month, parents, teachers and students will share their “Black History Heroes.” We start this week with a contribution from Nicoshi Marzette, mother of Bryce in our 5th grade:

There are way too many heroes for me to name just one. So many that have made a difference for not only African Americans but all Americans!

We can go back to Harriet Tubman and her mission to free the slaves. Sojourner Truth and Langston Hughes, whose powerful words through poetry and speeches have made and continue to make huge strides throughout the communities.

Even if we look at more modern day, a lot of the microphones used today were developed/designed by James West. Those hot summer days that the kids enjoy running around with their super soakers, those were invented by Lonnie Johnson. For the cellphone crazed teens, Jesse Eugene Russell for his part in introducing the world to cellular technology (he got his Masters at Stanford).

There are tons of heroes and way makers both known and unknown that have made a difference. Personally, my heroes have been right in my community of East Palo Alto/Menlo Park. I will always remember Ms. Sandra Sterling who was my teacher in 3rd/4th grade at Willow Oaks. She was also my Sunday School teacher at Macedonia Church in Menlo Park. She is the reason that I was so into poetry and helped me to be comfortable with performing. She taught me the importance of being active in the community and giving back as well as standing up for what’s right! Especially in a world when women are often not taken as seriously as men.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” — Malcolm X

Thank you Nicoshi for sharing these thoughts with us. Next week we will share another Beechwood parentrsquo;s Black History heroes

-Mr. Laurance