Student Spotlight: Camille Michaela

A photo of Camille’s petition, which still remains active since its release.

Kiran Matthews, Entertainment Editor

In the past few weeks, many CHS students saw a petition circulate social media created by a vital member of the C.H.S. community, Camille Michaela Harold.The petition Camille put out advocates and promotes the inclusion of a Black History unit in every history course taught at CHS.Camille is a passionate voice in the Black Knight community. Her involvement with activist groups such as Director of the Central Virginia Activists and co-leader of The Young Black Student Association is unmatched. Her work ethic and general determination has led to the spread of awareness and support for people of color and unheard voices as a whole. The petition, in particular, sparked attention in the C.H.S. community over the fact of the generic Black history we are taught in our history curriculums. The short-lived slideshows featuring Black movement figures such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King offer a historical look into Black history and past. The vague and brief coverage of Black history leaves out essential aspects of black stories all together, which contributes to the lack of understanding at the heart of continuing racism in our society.


Following the petition’s release, I was lucky enough to interview Camille and ask a couple questions regarding the petition in particular, and get insight into the scope of Camille’s goals and group efforts. 


Q- What inspired you to create the petition in the first place?

A-“I would definitely say lack of Black history taught in class, especially history class obviously. Noticing it more than ever in Black History Month, we’re not really talking about the depth of Black history, and when we do, it’s just the same people we’ve all been talking about since kindergarten, leaving out a lot of essential details.


Q-Have you received any negative feedback since the petition was released to the public? How about any positive feedback?

A-” Definitely both. Whether on Snapchat or Instagram, I’ve always gotten negative comments from people with everything I post. When I posted the petition, some people chose to unadd me or slid up and said it was incorrect as a whole. I’ve begun to see how ignorant some people can be, especially in our own community, which is always surprising because you never think people like that are where you’re from. 


Q-Have you seen any changes been made by the school board/community?

A-“I haven’t seen changes from the school board yet, but I’ve definitely experienced positive feedback in classes where I have talked about it with teachers. Apart from school conversations, all of the people who have reached out to me about it have been very supportive or have expressed they want the idea to go somewhere.  


Outside of particulars about the petition, Camille and I were able to go over some of her efforts outside means, flowing into community and group efforts Camille has become a significant part of. 


Q-How did you become involved in this type of work? What inspired you to continue working for social change?

A- “I would definitely say over the summer when a lot of Black Lives Matter movements had light being shed on their efforts or topics. I would also have conversations with my mom and family members about how global events would freak me out and worries about my family or friends being harmed. My mom would definitely be considered a big reason why I started all of it. She was one of the only Black students in her high school and later attended an Ivy League school, all throughout facing a lot of racism. Getting some insight into her life and how she lived through a time where matters were much worse, it inspired me to try to shed light on major racial issues which still exist today in our community, and I hope to bring a spotlight onto things that aren’t talked about enough when they should be because I know that not everyone who is in need of help is able to speak out about it.”


Q-Do you have any suggestions for those looking to improve the atmosphere of racial injustice in Charlottesville? How could the community get involved in the goals of the petition/support your organization more effectively?

A-“I would definitely say educate yourself in any way possible. Even looking up something or reading a book can be extremely beneficial, and asking questions can be hugely valuable. I understand during this time, some people think that asking questions is offensive. Still, if there’s something you don’t know or are unsure about, that’s one of the major things you can do. As far as the petition goes; signing it, sharing it, and educating yourself on subject matters, and understanding the full story on most things we’ve been taught throughout school. 


The petition is still up on, which can be reached from this link:


In the last minutes of our interview, following petition questions and an inside scope on Camille’s efforts and goals, we turned to some of the clubs and organizations Camille is actively involved in to inspire others in the student community. 


  • What is the Central VA Activist Group? And how has the group aided with your own efforts?

A- “Most of our members are from C.H.S., so a lot of the topics we talk about or projects we do are based on people’s personal experiences in the community. The group has continually been able to educate each other and dive deep into personal experiences to inform members on diverse perspectives, and coming together has definitely been super insightful to the diverse group as a whole. 

  • Could you give a brief overview on the creation of the Young Black Womens Association and the group as a whole?

A-“The group was put into action over the summer when Jakia Maupin and I talked over the phone on how Black women are extremely underappreciated and especially younger Black women aren’t able to fully realize their worth. Especially on social media, with all of the hate and discrimination towards Black women in recent years, not every other young Black girl can say they have come to know their values. The group started out as an inspiration from this, and we went on to start a sign-up form to see if people would be interested. People signed up, and over the last few months, we started having virtual meetings, which has been amazing. Everyone is so uplifting to each other, great listeners, and we can all relate about a bunch of things, and we are there for each other in a world where we are underappreciated.