Symbols often communicate histories, connections, aspirations, and the kinds of juxtapositions that remind people of where they have been as they work to get where they are going. In this spirit, Montpelier High School in Montpelier, Vermont offered a symbol of support to the Black students at the majority white school with a 350-student population. During a time when people collectively resist what politics scholar Jenn M. Jackson deemed “the enshrining of white supremacy” in the collective consciousness, MHS just raised a Black Lives Matter flag.

“We are committed to improvement and this dialogue and to work for equity and racial justice in our school system,” Principal Mike McRaith, who is white, said at the recent flag-raising ceremony. “We can and we must improve our educational system to be more culturally competent and ever more inclusive to the historically marginalized and oppressed.”

Students, faculty and  staff attended the flag-raising, which kicked off Black History Month events at MHS. As CNN reported, MHS is incorporating racism and race equity discourse with the traditional education. What’s more, students were the catalyst. The Racial Justice Alliance, a student-led group, presented the flag-raising idea to the local school board. The flag, which succinctly reads “Black Lives Matter” in reverse type, is expected to fly high all month.

“We all, as Vermonters, should be proud of what we are doing in our schools when we can have our youth be this responsible,” state Rep. Kevin Christie said of the event.

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