Unity and Education: Tilton’s Black Student Union
Rosabelle Fergus '20

In 2019, Rosabelle (Rosie) Fergus '20 and two friends created the Tilton School Black Student Union (BSU) to bring together Tilton's Black community. Even though the school year was cut short, the BSU immediately became a beacon on campus. Here is Rosabelle's story of creating a space of unity and education.

Tilton School Black Student Union founder Rosabelle Fergus ;20

My name is Rosabelle Fergus. I am 18 years old and was a Postgraduate student at the Tilton School this  past year. I currently live in Sharon, Mass. with my parents and younger sister. I grew up in Mattapan, a neighborhood in Boston. 

Before I moved to Sharon, my school was Black and hispanic. So when I moved in the fifth grade, I was in a completely different environment where the majority of people were white. Although I had many friends, I felt out of place, which was a feeling I had never experienced before. When I arrived at my high school, a lot of things changed. There were more people, which also meant more people of color. During my senior year, some of my close friends created the Black Student Union (BSU) at Sharon High School. Our goal for the BSU was to educate students in our high school about racial micro-aggressions, which so many of us faced at high school on a regular basis. Being in the BSU at my old school was an amazing experience, because we all wanted to work towards a goal that would help our community.

Fast forward to the fall of 2020. When I arrived at Tilton, I instantly wanted to create change. When I started to become more familiar with the campus, my two friends and I came up with the idea to create a BSU in the Tilton community. The Black student community is small, and since all three of us were new, we wanted to know each other. We also wanted to create a place where all Black students at Tilton could gather and feel comfortable, while also having fun. Once we created the club, we had two teachers we were close with, Mr. Carter and Ms. Brisson, who became our advisors. They were amazing, helping out with events and supporting us as an official club. We couldn't have done it without them.

Tilton Black Student Union presenting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

As a group we set goals for what we wanted to accomplish for the year. These included collaborating with the Genders and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), presenting on Martin Luther King Day at a school meeting, and lastly doing something for Black History Month (BHM). For BHM we planned a big 90/2000’s dance party for the school, played the The Blindside as an all-school movie, and sponsored a multi-themed dress up week for students and faculty. Planning all of this was hard work, but it was worth it to bring together and educate our community.

The BSU affected me in many different ways this past year. It has not only made more passionate about being a leader, but it allowed me to create a space where minorities can support each other, and bring knowledge about race issues to the larger community. I am extremely excited to see what is in store for the BSU next year. Tasha Lima ‘21 will be continuing as President and leaders have decided to appoint Victoria Medina-Visceglio ‘21 and Jaeyln Miles ‘21 as Vice-President for the 2020-2021 school year. 

As this chapter of my life at Tilton School closes, I have so many positive things to look back on. Creating the BSU with my friends has brought so much positivity to the community and this will no doubt continue. Having this experience has been absolutely amazing and made me feel part of something special.

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