By Ella McCollum-Siegfried
February is Black History Month. It’s a celebration of achievements by African Canadians, and it’s considered a “spotlight” time for recognizing their essential role in history.
Because February is coming to an end, it’s important to learn what Harbord can do to improve and become a more inclusive environment. I interviewed four Black students in grade 11, Anieyah, Kiana, Jade, and Jaiden, who kindly shared their thoughts and feelings about this Black History Month.
Both Jade and Kiana brought up that there isn’t enough Black representation within Harbord’s halls. Kiana said, “It’d be nice to see more Black-related art and workpieces displayed throughout the halls, like the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women pieces [that were displayed in December for Indigenous Education Month].”
Jade said that “Although there’s an English course that studies the African diaspora, it’s not mandatory. It shouldn’t be optional to learn about a major part of the world’s history.” She also explained how there is very little detail within curriculums in general about Black struggles, Black people, and Black history.
When speaking about Black History Month in a more general sense, Anieyah said that she “would consider this one of the worst Black History Months.” She brought up that Black history has become “basically only important for February.” She also finds that because Black History Month has been celebrated for so many years now, little to no effort is being put into it anymore.
Black History Month has mainly been encouraged by WACC (the Whole of African and Caribbean Culture club at Harbord Collegiate) through announcements and upcoming virtual events, which is amazing. However, the effort from other parts of Harbord has been lacking. More of our clubs and groups should take part and help educate through similar methods.
With more communication and collaboration between students, teachers, and school administration, there is hope that Harbord can become a place in which everyone feels seen and represented.