Black History Month

Sunday, February 07, 2021 - By: Bright A, Nemi G & Indie W ‘21

Black History Month is an annual celebration to recognise important Black figures. During Black History Month, people around the world celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black individuals who, throughout history, fought against oppression and pushed for their voices to be heard in the face of discrimination.

We celebrate it because it teaches us to shed light on the issues that affect Black individuals and communities. It motivates schools to come together as a community and look for solutions to make the world a better place for everyone, so no one has to live in fear of discrimination.

The story of Black History Month begins in 1926, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. It is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada.

We learn from Black History Month by reflecting on the things we say and do around others and how our actions affect other people in our school. We live in a time where social media teaches us about the issues surrounding Black communities and people of colour, so it’s never been easier for us to learn from other people’s experiences.

Furthermore, we can also learn from movies that educate us on how institutionalised prejudice presently affects black communities, movies that educate us on racial issues surrounding black people.

Bright: My personal favourite, When They See Us, is a true story based on the lives of the Central Park Five who were wrongfully convicted of sexual assault as teenagers and were sent to jail for between six and twelve years.

Nemi: Hidden Figures follows three Black female mathematicians who play a pivotal role in astronaut John Glenn's launch into orbit. Meanwhile, they also have to deal with racial and gender discrimination at work.

Indie: 13th is a documentary that explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.

Here are some Famous black figures that deserve to be recognized :

Garrett Augustus Morgan was born on March 4th, 1877. He was an inventor, businessman and a community leader. He is known as the one of America’s greatest inventors because he invented the three-position traffic signal and the gas mask.

Marie Van Brittan was born October 30th, 1922 and she, as well as her husband, Albert Brown, invented the home security system. Their contributions help to provide a safer society and prevent home invasions.

Jean Augustine was born on September 9th 1937. She is a politician, social activist and an educator. She was the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the House of Commons, the first African-Canadian woman to be appointed to the Federal Cabinet, and the first Fairness Commissioner of the Government of Ontario.

It is important to stay open minded during such an important month in the year, one where we can recognize our differences and educate ourselves on the importance of Black history and how we as a campus community can grow.  Continue to educate yourself and those around you. Learn to expand your personal perspectives and put yourself in the shoes of others. Black History Month gives us the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of Black heritage and culture. Make sure to check out Ms Mais’ Black History Month display in the LC.

It is important to educate yourself and become an ally for members of the Black community. You can start by listening to others more and understanding that Black history is Canadian history, but global history as well. We should all take this month as an opportunity to reflect on ourselves individually our affect in our society. We can only make a change if we work together.

Lastly, take action. No one expects you to protest or preach equality, but doing little things like educating the people around you can go a long way. Or take a stand against microaggressions or racial ignorance rather than remaining silent.

Bright A, Nemi G & Indie W ‘21

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