Today’s society is forever changing, just like the town of Black River Falls. During June, the same month as Pride Month, a group of alumni donated books on LGBTQ+, Black, and Native American history. The group came together with a simple Facebook post. 

“I put a call out on Facebook, and we had quite a few people donate books,” said class of 2010 graduate Levi Harbeson. 

This all started because another BRFHS alumni posted things on Facebook confusing rioters with protesters during the Black Lives Matter protests. Alumni came together not to change viewpoints but to have students feel included and have the representation they deserve.

“Having those representations matter. Showing LGBTQ+ kids that the school cares about them. Just the virtue of the books being there is important,” said 2012 graduate Josh Bach-Hanson.

You might be asking why books or why this topic. Students today come in different ways, have different beliefs, live differently. Today people are trying to accept everyone. We see history in the makeup of the country today, but do we really? We learn little to nothing about Native American History, Black history or even LGBTQ+ history. These alumni came together to help put a stepping stone in our society. To show that it’s okay to live your true life. 

 “Unfortunately, there’s always a certain level of bigotry that persists in the world. Having those books there doesn’t require anybody to read them. It’s a point about having that representation available, and having the resources available for you want to learn more about it,” said Bach-Hanson.

High school is a time in our lives that allows us to grow and flourish into the people we’ll be for the rest of our lives. It’s important to show each other that we care for them and not get sucked into the things that don’t matter. High school is four years with a whole life to explore.

“So don’t be afraid to be yourself. And look, we’ve come so far,” said Bach-Hanson.

Giving students the freedom to be themselves and empowering them to be the best version of themselves is important. We see these alumni donating to show students they care, too. We allow ourselves to see things like others and make sure everyone feels included.

“I just hope they’re little beacons of hope. I don’t know if it’s gonna make a difference, but it’s better than nothing. Giving minorities more than a footnote,”  said Harbeson.

Students are important, and we want to show them that they are. Schools don’t run without them, so why not accept them while they’re there. School should be a comfortable area for all. Not just for some, and by having the representation there, we show students we care.

“I’m hopeful that the school is still supportive of it and still showing students of minorities and within the LGBTQ+ community that they care about them. And they show that care in a variety of ways but one of the ways is simply having things available that represent them,” said Bach-Hanson.