Black History Month 2019

Black History Month 2019
Posted on 02/01/2019
Black History Month 2019

February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate Black culture and history, and to reflect on the significant contributions that Black Canadians have made to building Canada. Every February, Canadians are invited to participate in learning opportunities, festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. 

On May 18, 2018, the OCDSB proudly adopted a motion to endorse the United Nations Declaration for the Decade for People of African Descent. This was an important commitment to recognizing our history and taking action to effect change.  This includes:

  • reducing barriers to learning and improving equity of access and opportunity for students of African descent;
  • Intentionally adopting practices to create a safe and caring learning environment that respects, promotes, and protects the human rights of children of African descent;
  • Collecting  and using identity-based data to measure our progress and inform decisions on policy and programs that impact the education of students; and
  • Engaging with parents and community organizations comprised of people of African descent in Ottawa to support their sense of belonging in the OCDSB education environment.

On January 26, 2019 at the Black History Month launch event, "Our Canadian Story: Nothing About Us, Without Us" the OCDSB was recognized for this work.  Former OCDSB Chair, Shirley Seward and former Rideau/Vanier/Capital Zone Trustee Shawn Menard, were celebrated for their support of this motion. 

Black History Ottawa provides excellent information about events and activities in our community.  At the OCDSB, learning about Black History is embedded in the curriculum throughout the school year. Take a minute to watch this video produced by students earlier this year. 

This month, OCDSB schools are planning events throughout that include assemblies, speakers, performances, films (including school council movie nights), classroom activities, cooking events, and more. Some examples include:

  • Glashan Public School will be performing their annual play "Ebony Road" from February 13th to 14th;.
  • Woodroffe Public School will have read alouds with books that highlight black history, African drumming workshops, art projects, and a school-wide Martin Luther King activity with "I Have A Dream;
  • At AY Jackson Secondary School students will have the opportunity to hear a Ted Talk, "Three Ways to Speak English" by Jamilia Lyiscott;

On the broader issues of equity, our work is embedded in the provincial Equity Action Plan and is part of our strategic priorities.  Since the adoption of the above noted motion, work has been underway to expand our Advisory Committee on Equity; provide leadership training on equity and bias free decision making; develop a framework for the collection of identity based data, and provide learning resources and supports to schools.  On Monday, February 4th, there will be a presentation to Committee of the Whole of a report outlining the plan for the collection of identity based data.

The resource list below offers some resources that may be helpful in learning about Black History both here in Canada, and around the world.

OCDSB Resources

Black History Resources

2017-2018 Report of the Advisory Committee on Equity

Measurement Report on Equity 18-068

OCDSB Equity Policy





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