During the month of February, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) proudly recognizes African Heritage (Black History) Month. It is an occasion to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of peoples of African descent to Canada and the world. The chosen theme for 2022-2023 is Black Joy.
The first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament was the Honourable Jean Augustine, who introduced a motion to the House of Commons to recognize February as Black History Month. In December 1995, Canadians officially recognized February as Black History Month across our nation. At the Toronto District School Board, a motion to recognize African Heritage (Black History) Month was carried in January 2002 and reaffirmed again in January 2004.
This year the contributions of numerous inspiring Black individuals will be highlighted. As we move forward towards December 2023 in marking 28 years since the Honourable Jean Augustine introduced a motion to recognize February as Black History Month across the nation, let’s pause and applaud her. Since December 1995, we continue to build a strong and robust foundation for all Black individuals across the nation. This motion brought us the opportunity to further learn about the African (Black) heritage and start the conversation that continues to flourish. We also applaud the TDSB for their 20 years contribution to recognize and celebrate African (Black) History Month. Further we’re proud of the achievements made by the TDSB in how Black students continue to be supported directly with the creation of the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement Department, and the Africentric program at Leonard Braithwaite at Winston Churchill Collegiate Institute and Downsview Secondary School for our secondary students. Please take a moment to review our powerpoint on African Heritage Month – February 2023 that highlights inspiring Black individuals.
We are enthusiastic of the continuation of the Black Student Alliance elementary and secondary student groups that increase student voice and build capacity in student leadership. We are also appreciative of the continued collaboration between the TDSB and the York University Black Law Students’ Association in providing support to the Know Your Worth initiatives that include Black “Secondary” Youth Empowerment Conference, and Know Your Worth: Educator’s Conference. At this time, please refer to the above powerpoint for information regarding these opportunities.
Artworks to reflect the theme of Black Joy was created by students from Winston Churchill Collegiate Institute and Northview Heights Secondary School (attached). The theme of Black Joy was selected this year by the African Heritage Month Volunteer Planning Committee. Joy is defined by the MerriamWebster dictionary as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. This academic school year, “Joy” is one of the TDSB’s two overarching priorities. The importance of “joy, engagement and belonging in our schools as a foundation for academic achievement and student success; and the second priority being “eliminating disproportionate outcomes for students.” Black Joy emulates how Black People have been able to thrive as a People and as a Community, despite the systemic barriers and oppression faced.
Missed the TDSB’s African Heritage Month Launch? View the recording now!
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