/ Modified feb 10, 2023 4:10 p.m.

TUSD students fundraise to save annual HBCU trip through music

The event is in partnership with the African American Museum of Southern Arizona.

Tucson High Tucson High Magnet School, 400 N. 2nd Ave.
Nick O'Gara, AZPM

Students at Tucson High Magnet School are rallying together to save a well-loved tradition that may see cuts. The school’s African American Culture Club is partnering with the African American Museum of Southern Arizona to celebrate Black History Month, and save their annual tour of historically Black colleges and universities.

The student-led event, Musical Melodies, serves as a way for community members to come together to support Black student success and their future, says Tucson Unified School District Program Specialist Jeffrey Sawyer.

Sawyer, who also serves on the museum’s Board of Directors, said that the project started after students discovered that funding fell short for this year’s HBCU tour. He said that those tours serve a greater purpose than just time away from home.

“It’s like the light has finally come on,” Sawyer said. “They go there and they see students who are doing outstanding things. When they go to these schools, they see that wow, you know, these kids look just like me, and they're doing amazing things and I want to do amazing things.”

But, as one student told Sawyer, it does not matter how much money comes in by the end of the night.

“It’s the fact that people have shown us support, that they care about us,” Sawyer recalled. “When we show students that we care about them, then they'll show us that they also care about us. The love has poured in from both sides.”

Sawyer said that by creating experiences like the annual HBCU trip for Black students allows for students to see what their peers have done, what they can do and how they can give back.

“Our kids are doing some amazing things in our community that are never talked about. We just want to make certain that they have the same opportunities that everyone else has… Because as we all know, education is the equalizer.”

The free event starts at 5:30 p.m. in Tucson High Magnet School’s main auditorium. The evening will showcase local musicians like the Morani Sanders Quartet and Angel Spencer as well as incorporate history of African American Icons in honor of Black History Month. Donations will be taken throughout the evening to help fund the students’ annual HBCU trip and the new African American Museum of Southern Arizona.

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