Celebrating Black History Month and Black Excellence Beyond February

During the month of February, our school is proud to honour and celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians, both past and present, as we pay tribute to the diverse backgrounds, experiences, cultures and histories of Black individuals and communities. 

Holy Trinity’s Equity & Change Committee is placing an emphasis on Black excellence in celebration of Black History Month. The student members of the committee felt that emphasis on Black excellence that highlights what young Black North American’s are accomplishing day in and day out. To accomplish this goal, there are daily announcements that highlight a notable Black figure in history complemented with an inspiring quotation. Iconic Black musical artists’ music is played before the start of each school day in celebration. The Equity & Change committee is working towards producing a video that speaks to Black excellence and what it means. The Equity & Change committee aims to display messaging from influential Black figures within the school and end with a presentation to students on Black excellence. 

On Thursday February 10th Equity & Change committee members participated in Equity & Change Day.  Equity & Change committee members spent the day learning about matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The committee welcomed Chef Garfield from Open Appetites during this day.  We were blessed to have Chef Garfield join us to celebrate Black Excellence and are grateful to have had the opportunity to watch Chef prepare his delicious Jerk Chicken, Rice and Peas and signature salad recipes. The Equity & Change committee is excited at the presence of these initiatives and will continue to promote this messaging throughout the school year. 

Background

Black Canadians have played an important role in shaping our nation’s heritage and identity, however Black History has not always been celebrated or adequately acknowledged. 

  • In December 1995, the House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion to officially recognize February as Black History Month in Canada. The motion was moved by the Honourable Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament. 
  • In February 2008, Senator Donald Oliver, the first black man appointed to the Senate, introduced a Motion to Recognize the Contributions of Black Canadians and February as Black History Month.  The motion carried unanimously. 

Black Excellence Beyond February

While the month of February offers an opportunity for intentional focus on the histories and robust contributions of Black Canadians, we know that our commitment to centering Black excellence must extend beyond February. We also know that denouncing and dismantling anti-Black racism in our classrooms and across our community is our moral and legal obligation, and essential to ensuring our schools and workplaces are free of discrimination and harassment. 

The Halton Catholic District School Board is committed to Human Rights and Equity and we undertake this commitment in a variety of ways, including shared leadership, professional learning, inclusive curriculum/assessment practices, and responding to discrimination and harassment. Through our Human Rights and Equity office, our Board has implemented a protocol that specifically outlines how we will disrupt incidents of racism and discrimination in our HCDSB schools. The protocol is posted on our Board website: Racism & Discrimination: Responding with Faith, Hope & Love.  

While we have made some progress, our work is not done. We must be proactive and accountable to Black students, families and staff as we continue to denounce racism and centre Black excellence to create safe, welcoming and inclusive schools.

Black History Month Resources

The Learning Resource Centre at HCDSB offers a variety of educational material, including eBooks, videos, articles, websites, as well as a Black History Month topic guide. Visit the Learning Resource Centre online for details!

System-Wide Events

Throughout the year, a number of virtual events and learning opportunities are planned in Halton and across our schools in partnership with HCDSB and various community partners. Visit our HCDSB website to learn more about system-wide events. 

Bartucci, AmandaCelebrating Black History Month and Black Excellence Beyond February