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Black History Month: Celebrating & Learning

Students are participating in Black History Month throughout the District with a variety of activities that showcase the proud heritage of the Black community, their joy, struggle, contribution, and achievement.

This is the 25th year of Black History Month in Canada and hundreds of students will have an opportunity to hear directly from the person who brought forward that historic legislation that was passed in 1995: the Honourable Jean Augustine. The first Black woman elected as a Member of Parliament, she is providing the official address at the Lifting Black Voices Youth Conference. Burnaby School District staff are organizing the virtual event for students in celebration of Black History Month. In addition to Ms Augustine and a keynote speaker who created Black Shirt Day, it features a racialized student panel with representatives from five school districts, including Burnaby. The conference is being put on in partnership with those districts and the National Congress of Black Women Foundation.

There is also much happening at a grassroots level with leadership by students and school staff as part of Black History Month. For example, at Burnaby South Secondary leadership students, library staff and various departments have collaborated to create a theme approach for each week, with teachers receiving a weekly informational email that includes resources and mini-lesson plans. The themes include Black contributions in literature, science and math, civil rights, sports and entertainment. English classes at the school are celebrating Black writers while considering how literature can be a voice for activism. Social Studies classes are discussing the Black historical experience, and Art and Music classes are highlighting and celebrating Black artists.

Burnaby South Secondary Vice-Principal James Morton:

The goal of the campaign is to build awareness, educate, enlighten and celebrate Black history. The hope is that staff and students will learn more about the diversity in the Black experience.”

Students and school staff collaborated at Burnaby Central Secondary and chose several ways to honour and celebrate the contributions of Black Canadians. Among the learning opportunities are daily announcements, a curated website with a variety of lessons and resources, a virtual gallery and a weekly focus on achievements and contributions in the Black community including music, art, athletics and leadership.

At École Moscrop Secondary a group of teachers and students are hosting short film viewings and discussions, showcasing art installations and sharing resources. The student-run R.A.C.E club is organizing themed challenges on social media designed to build awareness.

At Stoney Creek Community School, elementary students are using QR codes to explore learning about Black Canadians who have contributed so greatly to our country. Over at École Aubrey Elementary, students collaborated with inspiration from high school students at Burnaby North Secondary. The older students shared digital posters they had created as part of Black Shirt Day in January. The elementary students studied and discussed the messaging on the posters with their teachers, along with readings celebrating diversity. These are just some of the examples of what’s happening in schools, as we celebrate Black History Month and strive to honour it year-round.

Learn More About School Staff and Students Initiating Participation in Black Shirt Day 

Learn More About the Burnaby School District’s Ongoing Journey to Support Anti-Racism

Posted February 2021