ORANGE, NJ — Black History Month was kicked off in Park Avenue Elementary School’s Auditorium in Orange with a Black Lives Matter assembly Monday, Feb. 4.
“I’m very moved that we’re coming together for a very positive cause, making our students aware of what’s going on in their community and how they can make a change in the lives of everyday people,” said school Principal Myron Hackett, son of former Mayor Mims Hackett, on Monday, Feb. 4. “We have so many things going on with Black History Month on the part of the staff, students and parents. Everyone’s contributing, to make sure that it’s a very special month here at Park Avenue School.”
The assembly was organized by Orange Education Association Pride Chairwoman and Parent Teachers Organization President Antoinett Hall. She agreed with Hackett that celebrating all lives, particularly black lives, is important all year round, especially during Black History Month.
“We’re acknowledging the Black Lives Matter movement within the schools for a week and, today, we’re having a Black Lives Matter assembly, recognizing the people that are affected by this whole epidemic of black lives being taken,” said Hall on Monday, Feb. 4. “ ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not really about black lives, but all lives matter, to be precise. But being an urban district, we want to acknowledge how it affects us as a community and we want our students to be aware of exactly what Black Lives Matter means to all of us and we want to be a part of that.”
Hall said the “NJEA wanted us to acknowledge ‘Black Lives Matter’ in the schools.”
“It’s going to be a weeklong event,” Hall said. “We have different people that we’re going to remember each day and we’re just going to keep it moving. We have to make everyone aware of what is going on in the society.”
“No matter what you are and what you do, whether you are black, Hispanic, Caucasian or whatever, all lives matter,’” said Superintendent of Schools Ron Lee on Monday, Feb. 4. “The question is: Are you living what it says on your shirt? We have a lot of young people we’ve lost in this community and many communities throughout this country. We are placed here on this Earth, in my opinion, to serve each other. The question is, what are you doing to serve each other?”
Several of the students who worked with Hall and Hackett to make the Black Lives Matter event a success also said they believe letting the world know Black Lives Matter during Black History Month is important.
“Black Lives Matter because they have gone through a lot of things in the past and they have lived a lot of things in the current time,” said Karla Fercedes, a sixth-grader at Park Avenue School, on Monday, Feb. 4. “The good thing about this school is they all care about us and they all take care of us. All lives matter.”
Laura Sanchez, 11, a sixth-grade student of Mexican descent, agreed with Fercedes that “all lives matter.”
“I really don’t care about what people think, because I feel like everybody’s the same person, because we’re all humans,” said Sanchez on Monday, Feb. 4. “It doesn’t matter what your skin tone is; all I care about is if they’re human, because everybody has a purpose in life. This assembly is important, because it shows kids that they should be supportive to every type of person that exists in the world.”