“Hair Therapy: My Hair Is My Crown” empowers students
PVNC Catholic celebrates Black History Month with activities that highlight black achievement
Feb. 24, 2023
Black History Month honours and highlights black achievement, provides awareness of the African and Caribbean Diaspora, creates opportunities to increase our understanding of the trailblazers who may have struggled to pave a better way for the future, and honours historic members of the black community.
“Black history is important in so many ways. It includes representation, celebration, and integration,” says Benjamin, the Board’s equity, diversity and inclusion advisor. “Representation of those whose history has often been erased, celebration of the contributions of our past and current trailblazers, and integration of those marginalized voices is important when educating.”
PVNC Catholic and our schools enjoyed a number of programs and events that spanned the month of February.
A major highlight has been the success of the Hair Therapy: My Hair Is My Crown initiative hosted in several elementary and secondary schools.
Students of black, African and Caribbean (BAC) ancestry along with allied groups were invited to discuss the history of hair in the black community. Students had the opportunity to engage with a certified black hair stylist who demonstrated best practices of hair care and hair love. Additionally, students discussed with a mental health lead how to address negative comments about their hair and being empowered to embrace their hair in all forms.
“Hair is a centrepiece of black culture. It’s a symbol of identity, of resistance, creative expression and freedom. Through traditional styles, afros, locs and braids, we are communicating so much of who our ancestors were and who we are,” said Benjamin, adding that facilitators have received overwhelmingly positive responses from the students who participated and their parents.
Staff at the Catholic Education Centre (CEC) took part in professional development, as they were invited to watch the movie, Hidden Figures, and join in on a panel discussion of assessing bias and its impact on black students and staff. Allied groups were able to hear firsthand accounts of the experiences of some of our black staff and communicated renewed commitments to be active allies.
Additionally, over the past few weeks, schools hosted black history assemblies, with secondary schools hosting a Canadian Multicultural Inventors Museum.
The Canadian Multicultural Inventors Museum which included an African Global Icon Exhibit, promoted and featured global African innovators in the arts, music, science, sports, literature and politics.