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CBHS Student to Host ‘Black Stories Matter Cafe Night’

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CBHS Student to Host ‘Black Stories Matter Cafe Night’
Posted on 02/10/2015

Casco Bay High School seniors each year do Senior Expeditions in which each student designs a personal learning expedition that meshes a personal passion with a need in the world. Senior Kim Henry is focusing her expedition on the theme, “Black Lives Matter,” and will host an evening of storytelling on Thursday, Feb. 12, to explore that theme.

The Black Stories Matter Cafe Night will be held at the high school school’s Great Space from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“Through this event, I hope to expand the very narrow perception of Black Americans provided by the media, and reaffirm the fact that not only do black lives matter, but so do our stories,” Kim said.

CBHS, located at 196 Allen Avenue, is a small and rigorous public high school that is a Mentor School within the Expeditionary Learning Network, and is recognized as a national leader in project-based and “deeper” learning.

CBHS Principal Derek Pierce said seniors are at a phase in their expeditions where they are “figuring out some action to take based on their research – their ‘slice of the solution.’”

Kim explained that she chose the theme, “Black Lives Matter,” because “race issues have been dominating the national conversation lately, so much so that I feel it's possible to make real progress in improving race relations in our country.”

However, Kim said, she realized that “while we strive for positive change, the entertainment media undermines that growth through its depictions of Black Americans. Black characters are scarce in mainstream media, and the few characters that do appear are often stereotypical archetypes. These depictions not only perpetuate a negative outsider perception of Black Americans, but affect the development of a positive racial identity in minority viewers.”

Hence the Black Stories Matter Cafe Night, which is taking place during Black History Month.

“Since the issue is a lack of positive and well-rounded black characters, my slice of the solution is provide a platform for just that,” Kim said.

She said the event “will be formatted somewhat like The Moth story hour, with students standing and speaking (sans notes) in front of their audience. The event will give members of the community a chance to hear the stories that are overlooked by the media, and give black students of Casco Bay a chance to share their experiences, not only as a black person, but as a teenager, an artist, and a human being.”

Pierce said the Senior Expeditions will culminate on March 3rd with “Casco Talks,” when seniors share the results of their research and their “slice of the solution.”