LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As a part of its racial equity goals JCPS will soon add Black Student Unions (BSU) at all middle and high schools.
The school district sent letters and brochures to the principals Wednesday for them to seek out who will be the best fit to serve as a sponsor of the unions.
"It's more of like people who care about the issues rather than just have all the Black students come together," senior at Central High School Skylar Wooden said.
Wooden joined the BSU at her school in her freshman year.
"That sense of community that comes with it is super important," she said. "Especially at predominately white schools where people might be targeted for the color of their skin it's nice to have a group of people to like rely on."
JCPS has more than 40 middle and high schools across the district, but not all of them have BSUs.
"We're coming back to NTI, but we're also coming back to racial injustice and it's the responsibility of every school to address those things," chief equity officer Dr. John Marshall said during Tuesday's board meeting.
Black students at universities and high schools across the country have established BSUs since the civil rights movement to create safe spaces.
Adding additional unions have always been a part of the plan for JCPS, but the district says taking action is important now more than ever.
"Sometimes people just put in policies and they don't understand how it may have a negative impact on certain marginalized groups," associate of diversity, equity and poverty Greg Vann said. "When you have an organization that can speak up on behalf of the student body, it just gives them the ability to listen and to make changes based on what they hear."
Vann says BSUs push students to strive for academic excellence while promoting a positive school culture. They offer community service, conversations about race, field trips and activities to prepare students for college.
JCPS Superintendent, Dr. Marty Pollio says the unions are to help dismantle racial inequities in education.
"We want to be there for our students and we want to make this a part of the curriculum," he said. "We've got a long way to go to eliminate those gaps but this is one piece of it and we're going to continue to do that work."
All middle and high schools are expected to have Black Student Unions by fall.