Black Student Union Chapter Starts at NAHS


Lucy-Grey Shields

Exemplifying Excellence: Members of the Black Student Union are excited for the club's second year at North. Shown left to right are Sterling Fleury, Morgan Forbes, Brathwaite, Kennedy Johnston and Xavier Anderson

While North Atlanta boasts a wide variety of clubs, this year marks the debut of the school’s very own chapter of the Black Student Union (BSU). Sponsored by instructor D’Andra McPhail, the student-run organization takes pride in promoting African American students in their pursuits of academic, professional, and community-wide achievements all the while maximizing their involvement in the community. The framework for the North Atlanta Black Student Union was created this year by a handful of hard-working seniors including Chase Brathwaite, Kennedy Johnston, Morgan Forbes, Xavier Anderson, Sterling Fleury and Imani Dobson. This high-minded cohort expects to pour leadership and hard work into their club in order to achieve a successful school year.

The decision to start the Black Student Union was not a split-second one. The idea actually originated during the groups shared advisory period during their junior year, where the group brain-stormed the notion of creating a safe and welcoming club at their school. “Starting it was really because we felt like there needed to be a club where you can talk about how you feel,” said Brathwaite, who also serves as senior class president. “We wanted somewhere where it is okay to be black, okay to talk about it, and okay to share opinions.” 

The group had to overcome some challenges early on, even those surrounding its name. There were expressed fears that the name “Black Student Union” was too narrow and exclusive. But the objections about the name were overcome after several meetings with school administration when members assured all that the club is not exclusive and all students can join it.  “Being able to pursue our ideas in a way that highlights our culture and shows unity without being too exclusive to others was a difficult challenge,” said Dobson. “But we have found a way to make it work to our benefit in order to celebrate culture and diversity throughout our school.”

Where meetings are concerned, there’s been widespread support for the club and it now counts more than 80 active members. The meetings are open to everyone and focus on having open discussions on topics such as race and diversity and also planning opportunities and events, such as this year’s Black History Program. “We have many group discussions,” said junior Avi Hunter. “The meetings are not a chore and everyone is excited to attend. I love the sense of community for both people of color and anyone who wants to support that.”

This organization’s debut at North Atlanta has been a success without a doubt. The club aims to promote African American excellence and provide anyone and everyone the opportunity to build the community around them. The Black Student Union wants to provide an inclusive environment and hopes to continue improving the world around them for many years to come.