Black History Month is one of my favorite times of the year. I didn’t realize when I was growing up how powerful it was hearing stories about the inventions and works of people that looked like me. Their efforts not only inspired me but also served as positive reinforcements that black excellence was the rule, not the exception.
I found a special place in my heart for the teachers, parents and community organizations that would organize drummers and poets to come out to our assemblies. For many of my classmates, it was their first time seeing an example of a successful black person outside of their family. The attention to detail and desire to make me and my peers feel recognized was exactly what I needed to feel encouraged and included in the classroom.
However, I recognize that not all students have the luxury of such experiences. It truly is up to volunteers to ensure Black History Month is celebrated and exposed to all. Recently in a mom’s Facebook group, a parent posted that she needed support and resources to help ensure her child’s school celebrated black history month. You may think it's unfair, “why should you have to do anything? These institutions need to be held responsible?: While that’s true we must also accept that to see the change we have to be the change just like the treasured leaders we celebrate during this month. Hey, that’s the main reason Kids Swag exists. I saw a problem and decided to be the change I wanted to see and make it easy for everyone to source high-quality children's products that celebrate black positivity and instill confidence in our youth.
Following my natural desire to always try to help and be a connector, I began to do my research on ways that I could encourage teachers to celebrate us for February and beyond! #weareblackhistory.
Here are 4 simple ways to celebrate Black History Month:
- Get in touch with the librarian at the school and see if they will accept a few book donations. Here (hyperlink: https://www.todaysparent.com/family/books/16-great-black-history-month-books-for-kids/) are a few book suggestions that you can purchase for your child's library, classroom or their personal book collection.
- Send a few resources to your child’s teacher in January so they have time to prepare. The Canadian Encyclopaedia (hyperlink: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/collection/black-history-in-canada) has compiled a collection of videos, galleries and even a study guide that draws from the historical fiction, Book of Negroes.
- Plan a short lesson on the $10 bill with Viola Desmond. Here (hyperlink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT7a-YkaCpc) is a short interactive video that you can play for younger children.
- Download one of the African Canadian Lesson Plans (hyperlink: http://teachingafricancanadianhistory.weebly.com/lesson-plans.html) on Emancipation Day, the War of 1812 and the Underground Railroad to name a few.
BONUS: Send Black Inspired Valentines Day Cards!!! -
https://www.browngirlsclub.com/products/free-printable-valentines-day-cards-for-black-children - I was so pleased to come across these downloadable valentines day cards
If you notice that your son or daughter’s school could use some help with executing a successful Black History Month, try implementing one of these ideas. It’s our responsibility as parents and educators to create environments that foster confidence and creative learning.
Definitely interested to hear any additional recommendations. Feel free to respond or tag us in your social media post on what you're doing this month for BHM!