New club will host discussions on African-American history, contemporary issues


Coach James Scales

Black, Proud, and Aware members gather after participating in Bearden’s Fall Festival.

Maggie Price, Staff Writer

A new club is on the rise at Bearden; Black, Proud, and Aware (BPA) was started by junior MarQuavis Dottery. The idea behind this club is to allow Bearden students to discuss African-American history and to understand the issues occurring in society today.

The idea originated from principal Dr. John Bartlett, who had looked at creating an advisory focusing on discussing African-American history and present day issues. He reached out to Dottery to be one of the members, and Dottery decided to take this idea and make it into something for all students at Bearden.

He quickly took initiative and got the club up and running.

“I actually came up with this idea earlier this year, and I was looking around and I see a lot of our black youth,” Dottery said. “It’s like an encouragement – a lot of them don’t know about their past black history, and I get really into depth with it.”.

Part of BPA’s mission statement says “we inform them on their past so they know where they will be going in their future.” Students who join the club will not only discover information about African-American history, but will also have the opportunity to discuss more contemporary issues and their viewpoints on what is going on in the world.

“It’s interesting to see different perspectives from different grade levels and how your age affects how you view certain things,” senior Cali Brown said. “I just thought it was interesting how we discussed different stereotypes of African-Americans and how the media portrays African-Americans.”

Students will dive into topics such as “what does it mean to act black?”; these topics will create an open discussion between the members of the club where anyone is allowed to voice their opinions.

Dottery’s aim is to break some of the stereotypes affiliated with African-Americans and to educate students more on history and current issues.

At some meetings, there will be guest speakers who will discuss the controversial issues and their experiences in the real world; most speakers will be from local churches.

“I want to make it very contemporary and that will make it interesting,” faculty sponsor and assistant basketball coach James Scales said. “It is an open zone; people are able to talk about what they really want to talk about.”

Students will be able to discuss African-Americans, especially younger generations, and how they affect all aspects of society today.

Students of all races and grades can join BPA; the club leadership hopes this will create a more diverse discussion and open up more viewpoints on the current social, political, and economic issues faced by the African-American society.

BPA meets every other Tuesday in the library from 3:30-4:30; the next meeting will be Tuesday November 15. To stay up to date with BPA, follow their Twitter @BlackProudAware.