Black History Month is celebrated across Canada every February. This month is an opportunity to celebrate, learn, and honour the tremendous legacy of Black Canadians of the past and present. One month would never be enough time to fully commemorate and celebrate the often-omitted accomplishments, contributions and true history of Black Canadians. It is our daily and ongoing responsibility in education to ensure that the resources we choose, the perspectives we share and the narratives we highlight are diverse and representative of the students and families in our schools and across the world. Stories that celebrate true Black history and contributions belong in every classroom and every subject, every single day of the year.
Each year there is a theme for Black History Month. This helps us focus our work for the month, as we celebrate the contributions of Black people to Canadian society and the world. The theme for Black History Month 2023 is “Black Resistance". This year in particular, we will focus our attention on celebrating the ways in which Black people have resisted oppression, discrimination, and prejudice over the course of history and in present day.
We cannot talk about Black resistance without knowing the true history of Black people in Canada. We have a responsibility to learn and teach this true history, in the same way that we have a responsibility to learn and teach the true history of Indigenous people in Canada. We are called to look for, and discover the stories of resistors that will not appear in textbooks and we are called to understand current movements that are visible signs of continued resistance of ongoing oppression. The ALCDSB board office will be flying the Pan-African flag for the first time this February. This tri- color flag consists of three equal horizontal bands colored Red, Black, and Green. Each colour in the flag holds an important symbolism.
- The red color represents the blood that the unites all people of Black African ancestry regardless of geographical location and the blood shed for liberation.
- The black is representative of the skin color of people with Black African ancestry
- The green represents the lush and abundant natural wealth of Africa, the Motherland.
This flag is a symbol of unity despite colonialization in Canada that enslaved, displaced, and erased African people for hundreds of years. The flag itself is a symbol of Black Resistance as it affirms the strength and resistance to the legacy of colonization and reminds all who see it that Black people around the world are strong and united as a nation no matter where they are geographically.
In addition to our public show of support and recognition of the contributions of Black Canadians to our society, the ALCDSB Social Justice Committee's work will focus on developing a framework for working with Black students, families and staff who are an integral part of our communities. The work of the Social Justice Committee is based on a recognition that racism is a lived experience for members of our community, and that this experience is an affront to our faith beliefs and pastoral goals for all who come to be in community with us. The framework will provide guidance on addressing racism, intersectionality of marginalized and racialized community members, and to move the whole system forward in a way that owns our own shortcomings; and gives a pathway on how to address and remove the barriers that often lead to them.