This year during Black History Month Westridge is celebrating the 55 years of black excellence at Westridge. This year marks the 55th anniversary of Westridge’s first black graduate, Genna Rae McNeil ’65, dance director Kashmir Blake’s 25th anniversary, and Lower and Middle School Director Zanita Kelly’s first year.
So far this month, we’ve enjoyed Dr. Kelly’s first Read Aloud of picture books by black authors and illustrators and 10 fifth graders accepted Dr. Kelly’s optional challenge assignment to research and report on an inspiring black woman. For taking this on, they were invited to a special lunch with Dr. Kelly where they presented their reports (pictured above). Over pizza and cobbler, the girls learned about and celebrated women from Harriet Tubman and Katherine Johnson to The Black Mambas and Ibtihaj Muhammad.
Upcoming Black History Month events on campus:
Soul Food Breakfast and Potluck ** Parents are invited – please join us!***
February 19, 7:15-9 pm, Pitcairn Living Room
All parents and students are invited to our inaugural Soul Food Breakfast and Potluck next week! Please email Dr. Alisa Hale (DrAHale@aol.com) if you are interested in bringing your favorite soul food dish to the potluck.
Student Voices Assembly: Spotlight on Kashmir Blake
Students Voices is organizing an assembly in recognition of Kashmir Blake’s 25-year career as the director of dance at Westridge. An example of black excellence on the Westridge campus and in the greater world of dance, arts, and entertainment, Kashmir Blake has impacted and inspired countless students and dancers.
Read Alouds with Dr. Zanita Kelly
Dr. Kelly will host two additional lunchtime Read Alouds this month, reading picture books in celebration of the black literary tradition. Titles she has selected include Girls Hold Up This World by Jada Pinkett Smith, Childtimes by Eloise Greenfield and Lessie Jones Little, Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee, and Just the Two of Us by Will Smith.
Women of Color Wednesdays Kick-off with Cree Summer
As a continuation of our celebration of black excellence, Women of Color Wednesdays (WCW) will launch on March 4 with a lunch presentation about Cree Summer. WCW is a lunch series focused on celebrating the brilliance of women of color and deepening our understanding of the contributions that women of color have made to arts and culture, STEM fields, and society at large.
On March 4, students, faculty, and staff will learn about Cree Summer, a prolific voice actress with over 300 credits to her name including work on The Rugrats, Tiny Toons, Atlantis, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Codename: Kids Next Door, Teen Titans Go!, The Powerpuff Girls, The Loud House, The Boondocks, Rick & Morty, and more! Clips will be shown from some of her most iconic work, in which she is known for bringing “black girl magic” to animation.