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Students from across San Juan Unified celebrate the second-annual Black Renaissance Day event at Mira Loma

Students from across San Juan Unified celebrate the second-annual Black Renaissance Day event at Mira Loma

When Ra’Moni Williams was in the 10th grade, she took it upon herself to write a letter to Mira Loma High School’s principal on behalf of the student body, requesting that there be more Black representation in the school’s curriculum during Black History Month. Through the hard work of students and staff, her idea eventually blossomed into Black Renaissance Day, a campus-wide celebration of the contributions that the Black community have made to society through art, social justice, sports, academics and more. 

For the second-annual Black Renaissance Day on Feb. 16, middle and high school students from across the San Juan Unified School District were invited to Mira Loma to learn from and enjoy the many student presentations and performances. 

From the Harlem Renaissance itself, to the modern day, each presentation that filled the quad showcased a unique topic of Black history. Williams, who is now in the 12th grade, created a booth dedicated to educating people about Black journalists. For her, it was exciting to see the diversity of representation present throughout the event. 

“I feel, in the different areas of Black history, there’s so much more to know - inventors, and artists and dancers and clothing,” she said. 

In addition to the presentations, the campus was alive with music, dance and theater. While a band played “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard, dance teams from different San Juan Unified schools performed step dances in the black box theater to boisterous applause. After lunch, students gathered in the cafeteria to watch a skit that explored the complexities of racist derogatory language. 

Sara Garzona, a teacher at Mira Loma and an advisor for their Black Student Union, shared that her favorite part of Black Renaissance Day was watching the students express themselves. 

“It’s just amazing to see what students can do when they find something that they connect with,” she said. 

Like many others in attendance, Garzona hopes that this event not only grows at Mira Loma, but that it inspires other schools to do something similar. 

“We wanted to show other schools that it’s possible for events like these to happen,” Garzona said. “It makes a lot of students feel seen, and feel like they’re important, and that the staff and the administration see them.”