UPDATED: DHS Black Student Union plans to make significant changes

More stories from Halle Gordon


UPDATE: This story originally incorrectly reported that BSU was organizing a walkout event in support of Anthony Hill’s family on November 1.  BSU is not organizing this event. We apologize for the mistake.

The Decatur High School Black Student Union (BSU) was created in 2017 to provide a safe space and support system for African American students. This year’s co-presidents Liza Watson and Daxton Pettus plan to make significant changes to the historical club, making the BSU bigger and better than before.

“The Black Student Union is a way for DHS students to know more people in their community. In many ways, there is a disconnect within Decatur High School. I want to create an environment that allows African-Americans to succeed, and for them to feel like people expect them to succeed,” Watson said.

Pettus and Watson actively try to decrease the racial divide within Decatur by making the BSU more interracial. It is true, that in prior years, students of every race were allowed. However, this year the program has the highest amount of white and Latino students in BSU history.

BSU leader, Liza Watson, leads a chant at a pro-choice march in Atlanta. She wants to lead a protest similar to the ones she has been to for BSU.

“I felt strongly that the BSU could be important for African American students, and white students and Latino students, and every single student, because they are all an important part of the conversation,” Watson said. 

Although white students are allowed in the union, Watson explained that they have a specific role in the club. Their role is to be apart of the conversation, for them to hear and understand the difficulties that the minority group faces, and them to actively try to assist the African-American community at Decatur High School.

“Yes, the BSU is a club accepting of every single student that wants to join. However, it is not necessarily about them. This club was made for African American students. This club was made for them to feel powerful and wanted, and, for example, if white students received leadership roles for the club, it would defeat the purpose of the whole organization,” Pettus said. 

The co-presidents do not only plan to make the club more interracial but more politically active as well. Watson and Pettus plan to lead a series of protests, rallies, and projects that amplify the voices of the African American demographic at Decatur High School.

This year, the BSU plans to make a Historical Marker regarding Martin Luther King’s arrest during the Atlanta Student Movement, and his transfer to a jail in Decatur. It was a significant moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

“It is a large project, that I believe the BSU could achieve if we remain as unified as we are now,” Watson said.