News and Events
Members of Fridley High School’s (FHS) African American Student Union (AASU) represented the Fridley district at the 5th annual Cities United Black History Month Event held February 7, 2020 at North Hennepin Community College. This year, the Fridley delegation was the sole student group chosen to conduct its own breakout session.
FHS AASU leaders Bryant Howard, Colee Nolen, Meadow Gillispie, Eugenea Hawkins and Jet Thammavongsa presented Connecting Cultures Through Diversity in two separate sessions. The students talked about ways that Fridley’s group is promoting cultural awareness and engaging with the student body to learn about each other’s cultures. They also led a discussion on how to cultivate a youth leadership culture by posing the question ‘If you could do anything without fear of failure, what would it be?’
Nolen shared how she is a student representative on the Fridley School Board, and the platform it provides. “I want to make sure everyone’s voice is heard,” she said. “I want to make sure everyone is included within my school.”
All Fridley students are welcome to join AASU, regardless of ethnicity or cultural background.
“As a club, we all come together from different backgrounds and contribute, so this is not a one person does it all club,” said Gillispie. It’s valuable to have different viewpoints so when you collaborate, we can share ideas, compare perspectives, and learn from each other.”
District Equity and Inclusion Specialist and AASU advisor Aloda Sims was proud of the amount of positive feedback the team received from its peers. “One of the main goals for the group is to provide opportunities for our students to use their voices and grow as leaders,” Sims said. “When things arise in their communities that they are passionate about, they are equipped with the tools to speak up, celebrate who they are, as well as collaborate.”
The Brooklyn Park Cities United program connects students and leaders from throughout the Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD) member districts: Anoka-Hennepin, Brooklyn Center, Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose, Elk River-Otsego-Rogers-Zimmerman, Osseo, Rockford, and Fridley. The annual event is sponsored by several organizations, including the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, the City of Brooklyn Park, Hennepin County and the NWSISD.