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Empowering Black Voices: Eagle Rock School's Black Student Union

Empowering Black Voices: Eagle Rock School's Black Student Union

At Eagle Rock School (ERS), Zahria “Zee” Thomas stands as a beacon of dedicated community building and empowerment. 

Currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Smith College School for Social Work, Zahria's academic journey has been fueled by a passion for critical issues such as Reproductive Justice, Critical Race Theories, and Black Feminist Thought. As a Health and Wellness Fellow at ERS, Zahria has taken the initiative to establish the Black Student Union (BSU), providing a vital space for Black students to explore their identities, build relationships, and navigate the complexities of living and learning in a Predominantly White Instiution (PWI).

Creating a Safe Haven: Establishing the Black Student Union

Since Zee's arrival at ERS in September of 2023, the Black Student Union has quickly become a cornerstone of our community. With the first meeting held on September 29th, Zahria and the students wasted no time in establishing group norms and fostering a supportive environment. Staff members occasionally attend meetings, emphasizing the importance of adult support and demonstrating a commitment to upholding our institutional values. 

The focus during the first trimester was on community and relationship building, with activities ranging from icebreaker games to therapeutic sip and paints, creating a comfortable and welcoming space for all participants.

A Journey of Learning and Growth

As the BSU enters its second trimester, the focus shifts towards intentional learning and education. Over the course of the next five weeks, veteran students will delve into topics such as biases and cycles of socialization. These educational sessions provide students with the tools to articulate and process the impact of being Black in a predominantly White environment. 

Furthermore, the Black Student Union aims to foster cross-cultural understandings within the Black diaspora, expand students' knowledge base, and encourage thoughtful contemplation of what it means to be "Black."

Sustaining the Legacy: Ensuring Continuity

As Zee explores job opportunities after their fellowship, they remain committed to the continued success of the BSU. Zahria's dedication is evident in her creation of a manual aimed at sustaining the Black Student Union beyond their tenure at ERS. By providing a roadmap for future leaders, Zahria ensures that the BSU will remain a vital affinity space for Black students to connect, learn, and grow for years to come.

In conclusion, Eagle Rock School's Black Student Union serves as a crucial platform for empowering Black voices, fostering community, and promoting personal growth. Under the leadership of Zahria Thomas, the BSU has become a shining example of ERS' commitment to diversity, inclusion, and student well-being. As the BSU continues to evolve and thrive, it will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the Eagle Rock community and beyond.