Oregon Group Offers “Black Student Graduation Ceremony” For Local High Schoolers

Parents in the city of Beaverton, Oregon were notified that local groups will organize a “Black Student Graduation Ceremony” for local high school students.

The email notified parents that the event is organized by the Beaverton Black Parent Union (BBPU) and the Black Student Union.

The ceremony will “be open to any senior student in-district who identifies as Black (including African-American, Afro-Latino, African or mixed-race Black).”

However, organizers reportedly said the non-black students will also be allowed to attend.

The event will take place separately from any school graduation ceremony.

Unlike the main event, the Black Student Graduation Ceremony will also welcome “those who may not have credits to participate in [the mainstream] graduation,” according to the Daily Wire.

A district spokesperson told the Daily Wire the Beaverton School District is “not affiliated with the event” in an official capacity.

This is not the first graduation ceremony organized specifically for students of color.

An Oregon group called BEAM Village says it has been holding the “Black Baccalaureat” event for “over twenty years.”

A BBPU representative said that “historically the representation of Beaverton Students has been low [at the Black Baccalaureat event], and so we have aimed to build a tradition closer to home for our students while also supporting the partnership with BEAM.”

The representative said the effort to “build a tradition” of black student graduation ceremonies is to “support the success, health, and safety of Black students in the district,” by “connecting our students to Black culture and history” and “build[ing] a community network of support across families.”

Peter Wood of the National Association of Scholars calls this organization of special events for black students a form of “neo-segregation.”

“In the old form of segregation, colleges excluded black students or severely limited the number who were admitted…By contrast, in the new form of segregation (neo-segregation), colleges eagerly recruit black and other minority students, but actively foster campus arrangements that encourage these students to form separate social groups on campus,” Wood writes.

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