AP Literature Service Learning 2020/21

Raising awareness about BLM: creating a poster campaign

by Rachel D and Samantha L

AP Lit students

With society being plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, unruly politics, and straining international relations, finding peace and purpose in this ever-changing world is not a simple task. One of the most prominent movements from the past year that exemplifies purpose is the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM).

Dubbed the “largest moment in U.S. History”, BLM initially started in 2013 with the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Prompted back into the headlines with the murder of George Floyd, the movement started garnering attention and gaining traction as supporters took to social media and the streets. Since the resurgence, this national movement has turned global as protests have sprung up in several nations.

Focusing on BLM’s impact on Asia, specifically in China and in our international community, we noticed a trend of ‘starting a conversation’ with friends, families and communities. In the last weeks of the spring semester, Concordia started a conversation about race. Through assemblies and panels, awareness of systemic racism was a priority in the high school community.

As we engaged in our MISO work in AP Lit this year, we settled on a research question:  “How, and to what degree, can our active and aware participation in social justice begin to solve corrupt historic and current actions?” We launched into a series of interviews and surveys to find out more about this topic. Our interview with humanitarian Jordan Hatter gave us valuable insight on how and which direction to approach this project, strongly emphasizing the need to educate others and raise awareness. Furthermore, as Jordan said in the interview, “there has to be a focus on restitution...we cannot ignore the past, we have to learn from the past...a lot of people want to be heard before they are willing to listen.” 

Our first, and perhaps most important, task was to educate ourselves before trying to educate others. Using resources such as websites and videos, we delved deep into the history of systemic racism and the BLM Movement. Building an informative map of contextual knowledge helped us understand why this was happening. 

Attempting to educate the high school was an ambitious task we knew we could not accomplish without learning the background of the movement and history ourselves. Additionally, we educated ourselves about anti-racism, a concept introduced to us by Mr. Chowning, and color bravery, a concept introduced through a TED Talk by Mellody Hobson.

After learning about systemic racism and BLM, we created three posters and put them up around school for spread more awareness in the student body. 

Seeing our fellow students read our posters and discuss their opinions on the topic made us realize that this was a topic that students deeply cared about, and when provided with the proper information in sizable chunks, were impassioned to be part of this movement and this change.