CVESD Honors Black History Month

A Celebration of Black History Month
Posted on 02/01/2021
A Celebration of Black History Month

Throughout February, a multimedia campaign will give voice to various segments of our learning community about Black History Month. We will be asking participants in our awareness campaign to share their insights and reflections to one of the following question prompts: What does Black History Month mean to me? What lessons can we share through Black History Month, given all that has transpired in the last 12 months? What gives you hope or joy about Black History Month?

In the 1900s, scholar Carter G. Woodson inaugurated a week devoted to the history ofTree of Equality African-Americans as a means of filling in the gaps or absence of such history in the curriculum of schools. Woodson chose February because it includes the birthdays of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. The week grew into a month-long focus in the 1960s, developing into what is now known as Black History Month. Since then, there has also been debate about how to incorporate the subject into the curriculum all year long—not just the shortest month of the year.

In the Chula Vista Elementary School District, we too are rethinking how to better recognize and communicate about Black History Month. Our communications staff asked members of the newly created Black Learners Advisory Committee for insight and to share personal reflections about Black History Month. BLAC has as its purpose to provide and monitor the ongoing support for Black/African American students and families in CVESD to ensure unbiased practices/policies, equitable educational outcomes, and equal access to a quality education.

Enrique S. Camarena Elementary Principal Debra McLaren, Ed.D., shared her response to what Black History Month means to her.

“For me, Black History Month is a continual reminder of the power of courage. I am reminded of those who have gone before me and had the courage to stand firm and fight for me to have access to all opportunities and privileges of being an American,” McLaren said. She added that “Michelle Obama once said, ‘History has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.’ ”  

Monica LoyceThurgood Marshall Elementary Principal Monica Loyce, Ed.D., shared what gives her hope. “I have hope that the hearts and minds of the people that spread hate will change towards hearts filled with love. I have hope that people will be open to listening to understand the stories of others. I have hope that people will ‘see me’ for the love and kindness that I spread in my community. I have hope that our children in CVESD will rise and be the conduit for breaking the cycle for future generations to come.”

Liberty Elementary School Psychologist DiAnna Toliver is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. “Black history is American history. It is ubiquitous, all-encompassing and can be celebrated every day of the year,” Toliver said. “Black history is at the core of the American experience. Teach the truth about America. Black achievements are American achievements. Celebrate.”

The District has shared a variety of resources with teachers including the Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching Black History, resources for families, and other recommendations from Teaching Tolerance and Zaretta Hammond (author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain).

To borrow from Teaching Tolerance, “African American History Month is a reminder to all of us to continue Carter G. Woodson’s commitment—to bring greater regard for the contributions of African Americans to this country, to understand and overcome a legacy of oppression and racism, and, in so doing, to further racial harmony among us all.”

https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/the-history-behind-black-history-month

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