Santa Cruz Countywide Black Student Union


The Santa Cruz County Office of Education is proud to announce the first ever Countywide Black Student Union! The mission of the Countywide Black Student Union is to create a safe space for Black students to learn about each other, build relationships, create community, and to develop and promote cultural awareness. 

For many Black students, accessing the same resources and support as their peers on campus can be challenging. BSU aims to ensure the equitable distribution of the opportunities and tools necessary for all students to successfully navigate high school and prepare themselves to excel after graduation, whether it be in higher education or the professional workforce.  

As we work to install a BSU chapter at every high school campus in Santa Cruz county, our goal is to bring as many Black students together as possible, so that they can establish a network of support for anything they might need, both in and outside of school. We envision an atmosphere where our students feel comfortable expressing themselves, their voices are uplifted, and they are empowered to solve problems and evoke positive change in the world.   

Change starts with movement, and the movement starts with you!

To join our group, please fill out this short form:

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact Deshaun Myles at or Andres Ortiz at

We're here to 

Build Community

Empower Future Leaders

Practice Self Care & Self Love

Uplift Voices

Events & Announcements 

Our First Meeting!

Our orientation and first meeting of the 2023-24 school year will be on Saturday, September 23, 2023 from 11am-2pm at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education building (400 Encinal St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060). At this meeting we will confirm our weekly meeting times and location. 

Weekly Sessions

Thursdays - 5:00-6:00pm on Zoom - High Schoolers 

Monthly YLLA Meetings

Generally first Saturday of the month 10am-2pm with the other YLLA groups (In person only):

2024 Black Graduation Ceremony

Registration Now Open!!!

Our 25th Annual Black Graduation Ceremony is just around the corner! If you are a graduating high school senior or know a high school student graduating this year, register now to be a part of this beautiful celebration.  Graduates will receive a free kente cloth stole. All attendees will receive a dinner plate. Help us mark this special milestone!

To RSVP, register at:

Register to Vote Today! 

BSU Voter Registration Draft

If you are 18 years old, register to vote today! The next election is on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. If you are 16 or 17 you can register early. This means that after you turn 18, all you have to do is show up and vote. Scan the QR code at the end of the video to register!

Oakland Black College Expo

BSU students from Santa Cruz High and Pacific Collegiate School attended the Oakland Black College Expo on February 17th. They had the opportunity to meet with college recruiters from HBCU's, as well as several UC and CSU campuses. 

BSU Filming Voter Registration Video 

BSU students, Chirstela Henry and Kelaiah Wynn, making a video for Santa Cruz High School informing their peers about the importance of voting and encouraging them to begin their registration process. Video coming soon!  

MLK Convocation 2024

In partership with Pajaro Valley High School's BSU, we took a group of students to the MLK Convocation on January 31st. We had the wonderful opportunity to meet and take a picture with keynote speaker, Bryant Terry (fourth from left), renowned chef, author, and food justice advocate before the ceremony! 

Pajaro Valley High BSU

Shout out to Ms. Brooker (second from left) for doing such an amazing job with the BSU at PV High. Thank you so much for your partnership!

Countywide BSU at MLK Youth Day

Our Countywide BSU group tabled at the MLK Youth Day event on January 13th, hosted by the NAACP Santa Cruz County. We had so much fun interacting with the community and playing, "Name that Civil Rights Leader." A very fun, and very hard game in which players have to name at least 10 out of 16 civil rights leaders throughout history in oder to win a free BSU sweater!  

BSU Students at Portfolio Workshop

Students from the Santa Cruz and PV High School BSU's prepare their portfolios for the Oakland Black College Expo. 

Congratulations to the 2023 Graduates!

The Annual Black Graduation Ceremony is one of the biggest events that BSU puts on. The event acknowledges black students from across the county for their hard work and celebrates their accomplishment in completing high school.  

In the past, this event had only been available to students at Santa Cruz High School but, with the help of the Countywide Black Student Union, is now open to all seniors in Santa Cruz county.  We look forward to continuously expanding the celebration each year. 

Graduating students from 2023's Black Graduation held at London Nelson Community Center, Santa Cruz, CA

1. Restorative Justice

We are committed to collectively, lovingly, and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.​

2. Empathy

We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.

3. Loving Engagement

We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.

4. Diversity

We are committed to acknowledging, respecting, and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.

5. Globalism

We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world.​

6. Queer Affirming

We are committed to fostering a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.

7. Trans Affirming

We are committed to embracing and making space for trans siblings to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

8. Collective Value

We are guided by the fact all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location.

9. Intergenerational

We are committed to fostering an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with capacity to lead and learn.

10. Black Families

We are committed to making our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.

11. Black Villages

We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.

12. Unapologetically Black

We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others.​

​13. Black Women

​We are committed to building a Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male-centeredness.

Meet The Team!

Our Facilitator

Deshaun Myles

Deshaun Myles is an eloquent, kind-hearted, and imaginative individual who continuously places children and young people at the heart of everything she does. 

When Deshaun isn’t working as the BSU countywide facilitator and mentor, you can find her engaged in Capoeira and Afro-Brazilian dance. Additionally, she skillfully creates futuristic Afro-centric paintings that empower women while also dedicating her talents to braiding the hair of both children and adults.

Deshaun is a remarkable individual hailing from the vibrant city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite being hearing impaired, she spent the majority of her formative years in Santa Cruz, California. In 2019, she accomplished a significant milestone by graduating from Santa Cruz High School. Demonstrating exceptional dedication and talent, Deshaun achieved an honors graduation from Mills College in just three years, obtaining a certification in labor and birth doula in 2022.

Deshaun envisions establishing her very own youth center that integrates the vibrant realms of creative arts, capoeira, and music:

"I took on this position as the countywide BSU advisor because I know what it takes to build community and I have a rooted connection and numerous resources to share with the people of the community that need them. There are many  black students who don’t feel like they are heard or seen in school because the opportunity is not brought to them. I graduated from college in 2022 and returned to Santa Cruz with a desire to give back to my community and help cultivate the BSU locally.Not many can say they had the chance to go back to their home community with more knowledge and resources to help the young people achieve their goals and expand their success. Being  the BSU advisor means a great deal to me, but I see this position as a mentor role too. I want to be able to give the students that have come and will continue to come after me the same kind of opportunities, if not  more and stronger support by rebuilding a new foundation and finding new ways to connect and build better relationships with one another."