New Black Student Union club at M-P wants to work with local police to improve community

By Steve Powell

MARYSVILLE – For many years the national narrative of the relationship between blacks and police has been one filled with tension.

Members of the new Black Student Union at Marysville-Pilchuck High School want to change that.

As part of Black History Month, members of the union met Wednesday with student resource officer Darryn Wiersma, community leaders JJ Frank and Jim Colon, and school personnel. Their goal was to get to know local police better and to possibly plan some school and community service projects together. Others also would be encouraged to volunteer to help, especially students.

“We have kids who intentionally want to build a strong relationship with law enforcement,” said Frank of the Marysville YMCA, who is working with the kids along with Colon, owner of Marysville Toyota. “They also want to give back and serve others.” The M-P union formed about a month ago. This month during announcements union members have been reading about blacks who have contributed to society in a positive way. Club members Josiah Frank and Aliana Banks said rather than reading about famous people like Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, they have read about less-known but important blacks who have made their mark on history. One was Willie Eldon O’Ree, the first black in the National Hockey League. Another was C.J. Walker, the first black woman millionaire.

“This is how they want to celebrate Black History Month,” Frank said. “These are really important stories.”

Wiersma said he has always had “a heart for young people,” so he is glad to be M-P’s SRO. He also wants to break down stereotypes. Not only are police not always what they are portrayed to be, “Young people aren’t always portrayed right either.”

Colon said his company asks that they be leaders in the community, “not just sell cars.” He said they have hosted a few Coffee with a Cops events where participants get to know police on a casual basis.

As for a project, Josiah mentioned possibly volunteering at the food bank together.

“This is a club that needed to happen,” M-P principal Christine Bromley said.

She credited counselor intern Nicole Marcus with getting the Black Student Union club going.

“We want to bring awareness and celebrate diversity and culture,” Marcus said.

Frank said they want to emphasize King’s message that there is, “Power in races working together to build a stronger Marysville and Tulalip Tribes.”