THE WEEKLY HERALD   EVERETT, WASHINGTON
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Club creates space for Freedom of Expression

  • Students from Edmonds-Woodway’s Black Student Union perform a cultural dance during the club’s Freedom of Expression benefit April 27 at E...

    Weekly Herald/CHRIS GOODENOW

    Students from Edmonds-Woodway’s Black Student Union perform a cultural dance during the club’s Freedom of Expression benefit April 27 at Edmonds Community College.

LYNNWOOD — There was no shortage of talent or energy surging out of Edmonds-Woodway High School.
Teenagers filled the majority of theater seats to cheer, sing along with and swivel their shoulders as their peers performed on stage.
Edmonds-Woodway students and staff along with Shorewood High School students expressed their creative side at the Freedom of Expression showcase April 27 at Edmonds Community College’s Black Box Theatre.
Students these days are visual learners, said Melody Dankwa, 18, before the show. Dankwa is a member of Edmonds-Woodway’s Black Student Union, which spearheaded the show.
“We like art, songs and poems,” Dankwa said. “When we get to express ourselves in different ways, it brings out the creativity in people.”
Performers had the chance to show off their singing, dancing, rapping and tongue-twisting, spoken-word chops to a crowd of community members.
Freedom of Expression was a benefit show for the Black Student Union. The school club focuses on philanthropy and spreading awareness about black history and culture.
The show was open to a variety of talent and focused on self-expression. “Everyone can have fun and not be judged,” Dankwa said.
The club organized the event with help from Edmonds Community College, the Snohomish County YMCA and the Snohomish County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Janice Greene, of the Snohomish County NAACP, spoke during the showcase, thanking the BSU for help with the NAACP’s Freedom Fund banquet.
“You’re a very talented group,” Greene said. “It’s uplifting. You’ve been the light of my week. You have brightness about you, and I look forward to seeing more.”
Edmonds-Woodway Principal Michelle Trifunovic said she wanted to re-create the showcase at the high school.
“We grow so much as a school community when we celebrate everybody,” Trifunovic said. “A school community can’t just be teachers, students and administrators.”
The BSU resurged this school year and has 50 consistent members. The club formed in 2000 but after the original members graduated, the club faded away.
Everybody is different and that’s acceptable, said BSU member Jerrica Newkirk, 15. The club is open to anyone, regardless of race, and its members will warmly welcome anyone, Newkirk said. Not unlike the showcase.
“Don’t be afraid to be yourself – there are friends who will welcome you,” she said.