February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on and celebrate the diversity, culture, and history of black people in Canada and around the world. For Elmwood, it was imperative that we continue to expand our knowledge and understanding of the history of racial injustice in Canada, and continue to demand action towards racial equality. As part of this process, Elmwood’s Anti-Racism and Allyship Club (ARA) organized a series of events and activities for students and staff throughout the month.
To open, Elmwood welcomed alumni Gladys Abankwa-Meier-Klodt, a microbiologist, teacher, writer, and expert in cross-cultural communication. She gave a presentation at assembly, where she discussed her experience at Elmwood, her life traveling in a diplomatic family, and her book titled Delhi's Diplomatic Domains (2013). The book is a beautiful piece of work chronicling the diplomatic enclave in New Delhi that hosts a majority of the foreign embassies within one subdivision. Gladys joined Elmwood via Skype from Dublin, Ireland.
Other Black History Month activities included two presentations from ARA members during assembly, sharing the month’s events, a textbook audit where senior school students collectively looked through each page of the Gr. 10 history textbook for examples of diverse representation. The ARA is now compiling the results of this textbook audit to share with the whole school community.
Senior school homerooms then reflected on their experience with the textbook audit, and discussed representation in textbooks and curriculum. Homerooms also chose from a variety of follow up activities, including writing to their MP about the importance of diversity in school curricula, looking at film, art, or music made by Black Canadians, and many other options!
Middle School homerooms watched videos about Uncle Tom's Cabin, Elijah McCoy (the real McCoy) and Mary Ann Shad, and had class discussions about the importance of these powerful figures in Canadian History.
Elmwood would like to thank Ms Abankwa-Meier-Klodt for taking the time to speak with the community. Another thank you to the ARA club for organizing reflection and learning activities for staff and students. May we keep expanding our understanding, embracing diversity, and celebrating black history!