Celebrating Black Excellence Day in SD73

Posted On Thursday January 18, 2024

In SD73, we are committed to every individual thriving personally and culturally in our schools (Cultural and Identity Priority). One key strategy is to visibly acknowledge and celebrate diversity in school environments and learning opportunities. Black Excellence Day is one example of how we engage students and staff in activities to accomplish this Cultural and Identity Priority in our 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan.

Black Excellence Day was created by Ninandotoo Society and takes place on January 15th each year to celebrate the civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was born on January 15, 1929.

On Black Excellence Day, SD73 students in Gr. 4-12 are taking part in the Black Excellence Virtual Event 2023 hosted by the Ninandotoo Society and the Burnaby School District. This session served as a jumping-off point for students to engage in discussions and explore resources centered around Black Excellence and Black History. We are also committed to making visible Black history by displaying literature such as Black stories, Black art and highlighting accomplishments of Black people, and a day to stand in solidarity with Black Canadians.

At Westsyde Secondary School, Ms. Kachel and students from the school’s Culture Club hosted Black Excellence Day. Approximately 50 students attended the live stream which highlighted Black Canadians and Americans from a variety of backgrounds. Some presenters included Krystale Dos Santos who performed a piece from her one woman play about Viola Desmond titled, “Hey Viola,” Minnie Jean Brown Trickey, a member of the Little Rock Nine, who encouraged students to find creative ways to work towards diversity, and Judge David St. Pierre, who advocated for everyone to read books by Black authors, see films featuring Black actors, attend sporting events with Black athletes, and learn the history of Black people. In addition to the live stream, students in Culture Club created a small display with books celebrating the history and achievements of Black people in North America which will be expanded upon in the coming weeks to mark Black History Month. Grade eleven student Amara Ezedebego highlighted the importance of the event, explaining, “Black Excellence means celebrating my identity and the identities of Black people all over the world. It means we recognize everything that Black people went through to get to where we are today. Even if it is a small thing, it means so much for us today. To me, Black Excellence means acknowledging the people who helped and led us to where we are now.”

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