Young Blacks United guides EG through Black history


Photo courtesy of Brian Lee.

Darina Lubenov, Editor-in-Chief

It’s February. The halls of Elk Grove are saturated with the sounds of James Brown and Whitney Houston. The morning announcements are graced with quotes of famous Black leaders.

This is all thanks to the Young Blacks United (YBU) club at EGHS. 

YBU, formerly known as African-American Club at Elk Grove High School, spent the last Black History Month ensuring that EG students were aware that Black history is all around them.

Junior Chris McDavid joined YBU during the 2020-2021 online year and returned to the club this year. 

“And when you think about it, YBU…why are you being yourself?” McDavid said of the club’s rebrand. “What is your action to the world? So it’s really a deeper meaning than just YBU.”

McDavid and the rest of YBU were responsible for the decorated foyer, trivia during the morning announcements and passing period music created by black artists. 

The club’s adviser, physical education teacher Brian Lee, has overseen YBU for more than 20 years.

“I support our YBU students by providing a safe space for them to come together, be vulnerable, vent,  brainstorm, and create,” Lee said. 

Alongside Lee are staff members Amanda Lamorte and Jennifer Ward. The three of them work together to support black students at Elk Grove.

For Black History Month, the YBU organized an assembly alongside the EGHS Justice Group. There, they raised awareness about the use of the N-Word with help from the guest speaker, DeMarco Fomby. 

With YBU’s initiative, Black History Month has not only raised awareness, but it has also inspired educators to take initiative in their own rooms. The club provided many educators resources to incorporate Black history into their lesson plans.. 

For instance, Mastery Lab coordinator Leilani Hernandez crafted various decorations that adorned the lab during February. The decorations honored women of color, the most-searched Black icons, and Black icons who graced the covers of magazine publications in the mastery lab’s interior.

“We all have a past, we all came from somewhere,” Hernandez said. “So, I think it’s important that we have knowledge on everything that is going on 12 months out of the year.”

Although YBU and Hernandez did not work on the project together, the meaning behind both projects is similar and clear: Ensuring that students are aware of the culture. 

McDavid said he believes that a lot of YBU’s success comes from the fact that students are allowed to embrace and learn more about their culture in a space that may not have been available when their guardians were in high school, for example. 

“It is so fun being in a room with people who have really good personalities,” McDavid said. “I do think it’s good to have someone in your realm that is culturally connected or that is connected through mind.”