Affinity Group Newsletter

February Edition - 2023


Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is observed in the United States every February to recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout history. It originated in 1915 as “Negro History Week” by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The week was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, the American government officially recognized Black History Month and expanded it to the entire month of February. Today, the observance is recognized globally and provides an opportunity to educate and raise awareness about the ongoing struggle for racial equality.

To learn more about Black History Month and community engagement opportunities, check out the resources below.

The History of Black History Month

Museums and More


Teaching Resources


Ted Talks


  • What Can I Do? with Rodney Glasgow: February 4th, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, The Harker School. Register here
  • South Asian Affinity Group (SAAG) Event: Heart Health 101: Wednesday, Feb. 8, 7:30-8:30 pm, on Zoom.
  • Asian Affinity Group (AAG) Event: Lunar New Year Celebration Family Lunch
    Sunday, Feb. 12, 11:30 am-1:30 pm, Dining Commons. 
  • Black History Month Assembly: February 13, 10:00-10:40 am, hosted by BSU. 
  • Affinity Group Training #2: February 16, 3:15 - 4:15 pm, Martin Hall. 
  • Upper School/Middle School POC Social: March 7, 11:15-11:55 am. 
  • Faculty and Staff of Color Meeting: March 9, 3:30 - 4:30 pm. 
  • All Student Affinity Group Meeting: March 16, 3:15 - 4:15 pm, US Quad, led by UMMA. 
  • All Affinity Group End of Year Event: April 16, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, Martin Hall. 

Faculty Advisor Spotlight

Dr. Phillip Harris advises the Black Student Union (BSU) and is an Upper School Creative Arts teacher.

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I hope to leave a lasting impact on a few people before my time is up on earth. At the same time, I hope that I can also enjoy the moment and experiences that the creator has graciously given me. 

Who influenced you to become a teacher?

 I am not sure if any one single person or moment influenced that decision. I still don’t really think of myself as a teacher. I like to share information, stories, and experiences from my life with others which, perhaps, is why I went into the study of performing. I initially wanted to be a full-time performer, but along the way, I realized that I could make an impact not just on stage, but also in front of others in a different light. 

Who’s someone you really admire?

As cliche as it sounds, the older I become, the more I really do admire my parents. 

What was your favorite subject at school?

My favorite subject was history as well as math… until the 12th grade (lol). 

In what ways do you encourage creativity in your classroom?

I try to allow for a freedom of teaching that wasn’t provided to me by encouraging small group collaboration, songwriting, and any type of expression that taps into vulnerability. 

You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick?

Tough one, I’m going to say, “Ordinary People” John Legend 

What’s your favorite family tradition?

Christmas dinner and lighting the candles of the kinara for Kwanzaa. 

What’s your favorite quote? or Words of wisdom to live by?

 “We all have the ability, the difference is in how we use it.” - Stevie Wonder 

BSU’s Martin Luther King Day Assembly 

 On Tuesday, January 17 the Menlo community honored the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during an all-school assembly entitled At the Table with King.

This multifaceted, live performance taught students about the American Civil Rights movement and valuable lessons of equality and respect through music, poetry, historical video footage, and Dr. King’s own words, At the Table also challenged students to engage in creative acts of service and leadership in their communities.

Mixed @ Menlo and AAA

Mixed at Menlo and the Asian American Alliance gathered to celebrate Lunar New Year on Tuesday, January 24. Together they discussed the importance of the holiday, ate traditional snacks, and practiced writing Chinese characters.  

Lunar New Year Assembly

The Lunar New Year Assembly was hosted by Menlo’s Asian American Alliance Affinity group and Mandarin classes on Tuesday, January 24.  The assembly included a fun chopstick competition, dragon dance, and the sharing of Lunar New Year traditions from various Asian countries!

Happy New Year of the Rabbit!