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Black Lives and Legacies

By Mariya Kooran

Black History Month is a yearly commemoration of the African American figures that worked to make the United States the nation that it is today. These men and women broke through barriers to defend freedom, and at New Hyde Park their legacies are being honored all month.

The New Hyde Park Memorial community has worked to preserve the legacy of these prominent figures. For instance, the National Art Honor Society celebrated Black History Month by hosting a poster contest. The images featured the colors black, red, yellow, and green, which are Pan-African colors that represent those of African descent. In the form of writing and pictures, the digital art highlighted many figures who made a significant impact for Black people in the United States, such as Langston Hughes, Bessie Coleman, Kobe Bryant, Vice President Kamala Harris, and many others.

Artwork by Aparna Shibu, Hannah Joji, and Jessica Johnson

National Art Honor Society hosted a Black History Month contest through a Google Form, and freshmen Aparna Shibu, Hannah Joji, and Jessica Johnson won first, second, and third place, respectively.

“Based on recent events, I’ve been truly inspired by the woman who marked history, Kamala Harris, who is the first Jamaican/Indian woman to run as the Vice President of the United States. She has faced many obstacles and has proven to us, future leaders, that nothing is impossible in the world," said Shibu.

Over in the English department, teachers read novels and memoirs in their classes that convey the importance of racial equality.

“Each year, we look for ways to enhance content and instruction to ensure that we offer our students a culturally responsive curriculum. These discussions, as well as the infusion of rich and diverse texts into our classrooms, will certainly continue as we strive to meet the needs of all our students,” said English department chairperson Ms. Rodriguez.

Artwork by Shadia Zayer

The month of February is a time of reflection and commemoration of historic legacies like Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks who were catalysts for change in America.

By reading these texts, students will be educated of the injustices that occur in the United States, in terms of race.

“We read ‘Warriors Don't Cry’ with the seventh grade. It is a memoir by Melba Patillo Beals, a Little Rock Nine member. The memoir follows her life as she goes to an all-white school and faces segregation, racism, and discrimination but perseveres and lives an inspirational life. As we read the memoir, we have very important conversations with the students as to how African Americans were treated,” said English teacher Ms. Kaczmarczyk.

By starting off students’ high school experience with exposure to powerful and historical texts like “Warriors Don’t Cry,” the school ensures that the coming generations will always remember the marred past of this nation while striving for unity.

...I really appreciate the steps the school is taking in order to celebrate the achievements of these brave heroes while also enlightening students who may be unaware of them...

Like in years past, social studies chairperson Mr. Galvin read daily announcements on the loudspeaker, sharing the stories, struggles, and accomplishments of past and present people of Black heritage. For the first week of February, he highlighted Thurgood Marshall, who was a big part of the Brown v. Board education case, leading to the desegregation of many public spaces. He also discussed the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Colin Powell.

“Black History Month is so important because it honors so many people that fought and persevered to help create the future we have today. I am grateful for them and I really appreciate the steps the school is taking in order to celebrate the achievements of these brave heroes while also enlightening students who may be unaware of them,” said senior Pranav Palanickal.


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