A Two-Year Journey: The Black Lives Matter Flag


Leah Fitzgerald (’24) speaks at the Black Lives Matter flag ceremony alongside Kaylee McKenzie (’22) and Georgia Casavant (’22). Photo credit: Nicole Schubert

Rachel Ledoux, Writer

On June 1, a two-year project finally came to fruition at Bellows Free Academy. After two years of petitioning, speaking and campaigning, the BFA Social Justice Club succeeded in getting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) flag raised at all schools in the Maple Run Unified School District. 

According to Social Justice Club founder and advisor, Nicole Schubert, students and staff gathered in front of the building 30 minutes before the start of school, some holding anti-racist signs and sporting BLM shirts. 

A group of students and staff, selected by the Social Justice Club, spoke at the event. Schubert introduced the speakers with fellow advisor to the club, Penelope Gratton.

The remaining speakers were students, which included Leah Fitzgerald (’24), a member of the club who, according to Schubert, was fundamental in getting the flag raised.

Fitzgerald’s speech focused on the efforts of the club to get the flag raised. According to Fitzgerald, while the flag is an important step forward in ending racism at BFA, there is still much work to be done.

“[Raising the flag] is a commitment to facilitating healthy and meaningful conversations regarding race and culture, as well as empowering people to take an active role in creating an equitable world,” Fitzgerald said.  She added, “This is a call for justice and a demand for change.”

This was supported by Kaylee Mckenzie (’22), the second speaker. Mckenzie gained the attention of the district several months ago when a racist meme was airdropped to her during lunch.

“Coming from a black student at BFA, there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Mckenzie said. She added, “But this is a step towards that goal. I want to thank everyone who helped make this possible.”

The final student speaker, Georgia Casavant (’22), corroborated this as well. According to Casavant, although she and many others at BFA are not familiar with the discrimination faced by students of color, it is their responsibility to educate themselves and support the BLM cause.

“We will not stop until all individuals are accepted with grace and kindness. We will make it known that black lives matter,” Casavant said.

The ceremony was wrapped up by Schubert, who reiterated the points of the speakers. Then, the focal point of the ceremony began. 

BFA staff members slowly raised the Black Lives Matter flag, alongside the Vermont state flag and American flag. The crowd erupted into cheers.

According to those attending, the ceremony was a point of pride for BFA.

“I’m feeling very proud of BFA for finally doing this,” Fitzgerald said.