The Beaverton Black Parent Union (BBPU) in Beaverton, Oregon, in conjunction with the Black Student Union, is offering a “Black Student Graduation Ceremony” at the end of June, separate from the school district’s high school graduation.
According to an email sent to parents of the district and obtained by the Daily Wire, BBPU said the event is “open to any senior student in-district who identifies as Black (including African-American, Afro-Latino, African or mixed-race Black).”
The Daily Wire report continues the Beaverton Black Student Graduation Ceremony also invites “those who may not have credits to participate in [the mainstream] graduation.”
The report observed:
The Black Student Graduation Ceremony is not intended to replace the mainstream graduation, and no diplomas will be awarded. Rather, the event is intended to be a supplemental celebration. Further, a representative from the BBPU clarified that persons of other races who want to attend will not be excluded from the event.
“Beaverton School District is ‘not affiliated with the event’ in an official or fiscal capacity,” the report noted.
A “black graduate picnic” and black virtual graduation ceremony were held last year in August:
All 2020 graduating 🎓Black seniors in the Beaverton Schools District. We celebrate you and your achievements on Aug 2 and Aug 9. See link http://tiny.cc/2020blackgrad to register.
BBPU states on its website the group is “a volunteer-led collective of families with Black children organized to create community, advocate for culturally relevant resources, and ultimately support the success and well-being of our children and families in Beaverton.”
“We engage in grassroots organizing and community building to unify Black families across Beaverton in order to amplify our voice for policy, systems, and praxis change,” the group adds.
The website’s home page also contains a quote from civil rights activist and Nation of Islam spokesperson Malcolm X: “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”
The BBPU further states one of its primary goals is to address the achievement gap between black and white students in the school district:
The Beaverton School District is one of the most diverse in the State of Oregon. Its Black student population is approximately 6,000 students. Performance data from the district however show that Black students are not faring well in comparison to white students in terms of graduation rates, discipline, and other factors for student success.
The BBPU states 54 percent of the BSD student population is black, while 14 percent of the district’s teachers are minorities.
The group’s stated mission includes increasing the number of black teachers and staff, increasing “culturally relevant tools and spaces,” such as black student unions and ethnic studies curricula, and eliminating barriers to success and learning.
Additionally, BBPU seeks to “build community and celebrate Black joy” and “promote health and wellness,” which the group says is necessary because “systems of oppression have detrimental impacts on our physical, mental and emotional health.”
Finally, BBPU states it aims to “make Beaverton livable for all Black people,” by organizing and promoting “policy and systems change that improves housing affordability, law enforcement practices, economic opportunity and community engagement in city and county decision-making.”
Among BBPU’s programs is the Beaverton Black Graduation which, this year is scheduled for Sunday, June 27.