WATCH: The Black Student Union’s demands at the Board meeting after student walkout

Originally published on March 3, 2016

Freshman Kayelani Williams, junior Widya Batin, junior Unique Abram, senior Maya Bonner, senior Alexis Gutierrez and senior Johnny Hall stand outside City Hall. Photo by Steve Rhodes
Abram makes a speech about her experiences of being black at Lowell. Photo by Steve Rhodes

Over 20 students walked out of class

and marched to City Hall on Feb. 23, advocating for increased inclusion of African-American students at Lowell. Later that evening, the group of students, led by the Black Student Union, announced their demands at the Board of Education meeting.

This demonstration was partly sparked by what students saw as an in-
sufficient response by the administration to a student’s culturally insensi-
tive Black History Month display
that was taken down on Feb. 5. BSU co-
president junior Tsia Nicole said that the photo display was not the sole reason for the walkout, but the “last straw that broke the camel’s back” on top of everyday discrimination that students experience at Lowell.

At City Hall on the morning of Feb. 23, students spoke with officials such as the San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza and Board of Supervisors representatives. Students made speeches in which they shared experiences of cultural insensitivity at Lowell.

Carranza published a letter on the SFUSD website later that day showing support for the students who walked out and thanking African-American students for telling their stories.

At the Board meeting that evening,

the students listed their demands for more African-American teachers and staff at Lowell, mandatory ethnic studies classes to educate students and teachers, a full-time African-American recruitment officer who attends BSU meetings and an African-American community center at the school. Lowell’s African-American student population makes up two percent of the student body.