Students at a high school in Alabama are protesting against administrators who are reportedly attempting to censor the Black History Month celebration at their institution.
Over 200 students participated in a walkout earlier this week at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, according to ABC 33/40.
Notably, the demonstration took place in reaction to allegations that school officials asked the students to omit significant events from their Black History Month program.
J’Niyah Suttles, a high school senior, specifically noted, “We were told we couldn’t talk about slavery and civil rights because one of our administrators felt uncomfortable.”
In response, J’Niyah shared that she found the matter “very disturbing.”
“My protector from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., for you to tell me I can’t talk about something that is dealing with my culture is very disturbing, it’s very confusing.”
Jada Holt, another student at Hillcrest High School, reacted to the news by noting that history “can’t be erased.”
“Why am I being censored about my culture something that is rooted in me? Why can’t I talk about it? History is history and it’s already been made, and it can’t be erased.”
Ultimately, Jamiyah Brown—a senior who choreographed the Black History Month program—organized the walkout. Powerfully, she explained her motivation by proclaiming, “Without our history, we are nothing.”
“Without our history, we are nothing. Without teaching our youth where we come from, how can we move forward?”
Lisa Young, the president of the NAACP’s Tuscaloosa Branch, was also vocal in her opposition to the matter. In fact, she straight-up said, “I don’t know how you can talk about Black history in this country without talking about slavery or the civil rights movement.”
She also noted that she is “angry” over the situation and wants to “make their school a safe place.”
“I’m angry and part of me feels like we failed our students. We want to see what we can do to assist them, and make their school a safe place.”
Dr. Keri Johnson, the superintendent of the Tuscaloosa County School System, also reportedly issued a statement on the matter. Notably, she said that they’re “putting together a plan to make sure [the] students feel heard.”
“The Tuscaloosa County School System supports our students’ right to peacefully demonstrate. A number of our Hillcrest High students have concerns about the culture within their school. We care deeply about our students, and it is important that their concerns are heard. We are putting together a plan to make sure our students feel heard, so that we know the right steps to put in place to ensure all students know that they are valued.”