Abbotsford’s superintendent of schools, Dr. Kevin Godden, has written about Black History Month on the district’s website.
His article is titled Why Celebrate Black History Month?, and outlines the importance of Black history in Canada and includes his own personal experiences.
“Many Black Canadians from my generation will tell you that going to school and growing up in the 1970s and 1980s was markedly different than it is now,” he writes. “Few of the books we read had Black people in them, and even fewer portrayed Black people in positive ways. The very limited curricular content did not capture the imagination of children to emulate Black scientists, doctors, and lawyers. Rather, when it was covered it framed Blackness primarily in the context of slavery, poverty, oppression, and the civil rights movement.”
He continues that this “skewed perspective also fed the stereotypes of non-Black students about what it meant to be Black.”
“As parents, my wife and I worked hard to counteract this narrative with our kids by purposefully creating experiences for them to build their positive cultural identity,” he continues. “We sought out books where the main characters were of African ancestry and encouraged them to educate their friends about what they were learning to help de-stigmatize their existence. Kids need to know that they belong, and their classroom experiences play a critical role in that regard.”
February is Black History Month, and he says it’s an “opportunity to punctuate positive personal and cultural identity for Black children (and their peers) across the country.”
Godden’s article touches on well-known Black figures and authors, including Martin Luther King, Dr. Dre and Maya Angelou, while also mentioning Canada’s own history of enslavement, and his hopes for the community, schools, and the future.
To read the full blog entry by Godden, visit abbyschools.ca.
— Kevin Godden, Ed.D. (@KevinGodden1) February 4, 2022
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