Black History Month

Black Excellence in TVDSB

Thames Valley wants to know: What does Black excellence mean to YOU?

Share your photos, artwork, videos, quotes or a short statement with the Thames Valley community to inspire and celebrate Black excellence.

Submit your answer using the form below for a chance to be featured on TVDSB’s social media! #BlackExcellenceTVDSB


Submit Your Answer

Rheba Moore-Nash

 Rheba Moore-Nash
Black Excellence, to me, means celebrating our many achievements and successes as Black peoples, and our ability to rise and thrive in unity. Black Excellence speaks to collective leadership and the idea of “lifting as you climb.” While we’re doing the work of dismantling barriers (as we must) we can be assured that we’re not alone in these efforts. We can feel encouraged, knowing that we’re making the work easier for those coming up behind us until we all reach the summit together in the spirit of community. Black Excellence is that work we engage in together, undertaking actions great and small, to continually disrupt narratives that seek to misrepresent and malign, instead speaking the truths of our varied histories, which are rich and full of beauty, bravery, creativity, innovation, invention. When we centre ourselves in these truths, we are celebrating Black Excellence. 

And so Black Excellence is wondrous and spirit-filling and cannot be confined to the month of February or solely to certain “notable” individuals. It exists in the everyday and it lives and shines in individuals throughout our community. 

As a board, we demonstrate our commitment and leadership in the area of equity by actively engaging in the work of inclusion, affirming Black identities, and honouring Black students, staff, families/caregivers, and community members in a celebration of Black Excellence. 

Black Community Engagement Session

Poster for the Black Community Engagement Session taking place at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School from 5:30 to 7:00PM on February 22. The poster features a Black woman hugging a Black child.

 Thames Valley District School Board is pleased to invite students, families and community members from the Black community to attend the Black Community Engagement Session on Wednesday, February 22 at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School.

This event will provide a welcoming space for individuals from the Black community to build relationships and help shape TVDSB into a more inclusive and equitable board.

Register for free at: bit.ly/BlackCommunityEngagement

Event Details:

  • What: Black Community Engagement Session
  • When: Wednesday, February 22 from 5:30 -7:00 PM
  • Where: Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School (450 Millbank Dr, London, ON)
  • Who: Students, families, and community members from the Black community
  • A meal will be provided at no cost.

We look forward to seeing you!


February is observed as Black History Month at Thames Valley. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of Black Canadians and a chance to educate our students about the many noteworthy individuals who, throughout history, have had significant impact inducing change in our society.

In consultation with Black administrators, educators and clinical staff, the TVDSB Equity Team has prepared Black History Month resources, virtual class presentations and professional learning opportunities to support learning throughout February and beyond. 

The TVDSB Equity Team would like to thank Thames Valley staff and students for their commitment to embedding learning related to Black history, people and social justice education throughout the school year.

Resources to support this learning:

Important Information for Staff: Cultural Safety

It is important to create a learning environment that is respectful and that makes students feel safe and comfortable not only physically, socially, and emotionally but also in terms of their cultural heritage. A culturally safe learning environment is one in which students feel comfortable about expressing their ideas, opinions, and needs and about responding authentically to topics that may be culturally sensitive.

Teachers should be aware that some students may experience emotional reactions when learning about issues that have affected their own lives, their family, and/or their community.

Before addressing such topics in the classroom, teachers need to consider how to prepare and debrief students, and they need to ensure that resources are available to support students both inside and outside the classroom.

Important Action Items for Staff:

Students can also experience strong emotional reactions when learning about the adversity and challenges faced by others.

There may be students who express the wish or need to opt out of the learning.

If students are demonstrating a negative reaction to content discussed during the presentation, staff are encouraged to:

  1. Discreetly touch base with the student and assess their emotional response
  2. Connect the child with the administrator, LST or school support counsellor (if needed)

Important Reminder For Staff Before Discussing Student Identity:

CALLING SOMEONE IN

  • Done privately, after the fact
  • Invites a conversation and creates understanding
  • A chance to explain why the behaviour/language was inappropriate and what changes can be made
  • Can be difficult but, ultimately, enlightening
  • Helps someone shift their perspective
  • Depends on your social influence and relationship
  • Takes energy and patience

How it might sound:

“Hey, can we chat about what happened during the presentation? It’s about…”

 

CALLING SOMEONE OUT

  • Done publicly, in the moment
  • Stops problem behaviour immediately
  • Demonstrates that certain behaviour/language is never acceptable
  • Can be shaming, isolating and punishing
  • Might push someone into an insincere apology
  • Depends on your position / authority
  • Takes energy

How it might sound:

“There will be no Islamophobic remarks here!”

Source: Alderwick & Associates. The Three Faces of Oppression. February 11, 2020.

Staff Professional Learning Resources

Professional Learning Opportunities

To support staff learning related to Black History, employees are invited to register for the following virtual professional learning opportunities:

  • Anti-Black Racism and the Impact on Student Well-being
    • Session Description: Join two TVDSB School Social Workers to increase your knowledge of anti-Black racism in Canada, and in the school context. An understanding of the impact anti-Black racism has on student development, identity and well-being will be discussed. You will leave this session with some direct actions you can take in your role within TVDSB, as this session is open to all TVDSB employees.
    • Date: Tuesday, February 21, 2023 
    • Time: 4:30-6:30 pm
    • Registration information: To be determined.

 

Professional Learning Resources

Before engaging in conversations about student identity, staff should familiarize themselves with best practices for ensuring culturally safe learning environments.

Educators and staff looking for tips, strategies and best practices for discussing race and racism are invited to review the guide Let's Talk: Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics with Students by Teaching Tolerance.

Educators and staff are also invited to explore the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism in Schooling, Education, and Beyond: Resource Guide developed by the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the University of Toronto.

Virtual Presentations

Saidat smiling at the camera. Saidat is wearing a colourful headband and a jacket with "Vibes" written across it.Join Saidat as she brings celebration, awareness, and a call to action during Black History Month, as "Black history is world history."

Saidat will help students learn more about the events, accomplishments and triumphs of the African diaspora that may not be included in history curriculum.

Kindergarten to Grade 3
Join Saidat for an hour of music and movement as she shares stories of incredible Black heroes and gives students fun and effective ways to love the skin they live in; embrace and celebrate their cultural identity; as we'll as become an agent for justice and equality.
Students will learn:

  • What is Black History Month
  • Why is Black History Month important?
  • How can you be an ally?
  • Cool ways to celebrate diversity

Teachers can register for the pre-recorded presentations below.

Register

Grade 4 to Grade 8
For 20 days, students will be given facts, historical highlights and key terms that help them understand how to combat anti-Black racism and embrace ally ship and diversity.
After completing the 20-day video series, Saidat will end with a virtual celebration assembly that will include a trivia game show.
Students can test their knowledge on what they have learned from the 20 Day Diversity Moments.

Teachers can register for the pre-recorded presentations below.

Register

Elementary Classroom Resources

ETFO Black Canadian Curriculum Resources

CBC Kids Black History Month Resources

Black History Month, Kayak: Canada's History Magazine for Kids

Lesson Plans to be used with the magazine:

Black Canadian Calendar - Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario 

The individuals represented on the calendar offer a glimpse into the historical and contemporary political and societal realities faced by Black Canadians. The calendar is both a celebration and acknowledgement of a fraction of the contributions and impact Black Canadians have had to help shape Canada to be the nation it is today. 

 Heritage Minutes - The Canadian Encyclopedia

To view the Heritage Minutes, please scroll down once you open the link.

Secondary Classroom Resources

Black History in Canada Timeline
Discussion Questions From the timeline:
1.Identify significant factors/issues that likely motivated the fight for equal rights and explain your choices. 
2. Identify legislative changes intended to improve the quality of life for Black people in Canada. 
3. Many important people and events related to the history of Blacks in Canada are not included in the timeline. Identify one and provide an argument for inclusion.

Black Canadian Calendar - Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario 
The individuals represented on the calendar offer a glimpse into the historical and contemporary political and societal realities faced by Black Canadians. The calendar is both a celebration and acknowledgement of a fraction of the contributions and impact Black Canadians have had to help shape Canada to be the nation it is today. 

Heritage Minutes - The Canadian Encyclopedia
To view the Heritage Minutes, please scroll down once you open the link.

Groundbreaking Black Canadians and Events
University students share their thoughts on these groundbreaking Black Canadians and events. Each video clip is between 3-10 minutes long.

Portraits of Black Canadians
Students can listen to this 27 episode podcast to extend their knowledge on notable Black Canadians. Note: You may want to play Episode 26 first. Episode 20 contains mature content.

More Resources

Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices

Bookmarks is a live-action collection of 12 five-minute episodes featuring prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children's books from Black authors that highlight the Black experience. Content is organized for various ages and grades. Learn more.

 

Le Mois de l’histoire des Noirs

Black History Month resources in French are available here.

External Resources 

London Black History Month Calendar of Events

The London Black History Coordinating Committee has planned several events and initiatives for Black History Month.

Black History Month events calendar Le Mois de l'histoire des Noirs calendrier des événements

 

Links:

 

Note: There may be websites linked from these sites that are operated by organizations outside of the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB). These organizations are solely responsible for the operation and information found on their sites. Linking from this site does not imply any endorsement of the organization or information found on the website. Any comments or inquiries regarding the linked web sites should be directed to the organization operating the website.

 

 

 

 

Humans of Thames Valley


Dawn Brereton-Young BHM

Dawn Brereton-Young 

I’ve been with TVDSB for 15 years and worked in various secretarial capacities. In my present role as an Executive Assistant for the Communications and Legal departments, I am proud to be the first Black person ever to hold an Executive Assistant position at Thames Valley.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Crime and Deviance from the University of Toronto, Office Administration certificate from Fanshawe College, and currently finishing up a Legal Assistant certificate at Seneca College.

I am a first generation Canadian of Caribbean parentage and a proud mother of three kids who is passionate about volunteering with local organizations to support Black youth in our community.

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to listen to many Black students share their own lived experiences within Thames Valley schools.

It saddens me that they are still experiencing many of the same barriers I did when I was a child.

I believe that equity and anti-racism work is an important endeavor for our school communities. When students see themselves reflected in the curriculum and have educators with similar lived experiences it has a positive effect on student engagement and achievement.

Educators need to be culturally responsive when racialized and/or marginalized students enter their classrooms. There must be an awareness that many students have stories and lived experiences that should be tapped into and explored as part of their education. Having an anti-racist lens also allows students to be supported and affirmed.

As a community, we should all take the time to check our own biases and disrupt the practices in order to help racialized and marginalized students succeed and soar in their educational path.

Immaculate Kizido Namukasa BHM

Immaculate Kizido Namukasa

I am an employee of the Faculty of Education at Western University, where I am an associate dean and an associate professor. I have been a University Teaching Fellow researching the integration of technologies and hands-on activities in teaching. I am originally a secondary school teacher by profession who enjoyed teaching. My research and teaching at the university has focused on mathematics and other integrated science and technology areas. During the pandemic, this work introduced me to thinking more about teaching in ways that show both deep care for the content and care for the learners, pedagogies of care. While working at Western, I have served on numerous committees as well as volunteering in schools and in the community. I have also visited elementary schools in the role of a human library, who alongside others visits and answers questions, showcasing African cultures. In addition, I have served on a leadership board of a community organization, African Canadian Federation of London and Area, ACFOLA and have volunteered with a free tutoring program based at LUSO Community Services.

I am a mother of 3 school-aged children. Outside my family life, I am most proud of my teaching, research and volunteer work; the latter has taken me to many classrooms where I have enjoyed interacting with students of all ages and their teachers. Because of my interest in individuals and groups of people living on the margins of society, who often find learning in schools and post-secondary institutions less accessible, I am currently part of three Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion projects at Western, and in collaboration with Ontario Tech University.

As a person who emigrated to Canada when I was already an adult, and who is now raising 3 children in Ontario, I am so thankful for the anti-racism/equity work being offered within our school communities. I highly respect teachers, colleagues, authors, leaders, consultants, students and professionals in schools and other educational contexts who have been doing this important work for many years, especially when it was extremely difficult. This work needs to continue to be done, by both those in power who are allies to those on the margins and those who do this work in search of equitable practices in all sectors of society.

 

Anthony Friday BHM

Anthony Friday

I have had the pleasure to have worked for the Thames Valley District School Board for the past 20 years. My current role is Vice-Principal at Eagle Heights Public School. I am from Afro-Caribbean descent and have a passion for anti-racism and equity work. I am most proud of the partnerships that I have built with fellow educators, community members and our parent community in advocating for our students and to ensure that our students have the best possible environment to thrive in.

The commitment to anti-racism and equity work within our school communities is of the utmost importance. Fostering a safe and inclusive school environment where everyone feels welcomed, represented, and has a voice is essential in creating an inclusive school culture; a school culture where all students and staff are positioned to experience success, learn, and thrive. Inclusiveness in education and the pursuit of lifelong learning are fundamental commitments that we must all strive for. Our Diversity is one of our greatest strengths

 

 

Other Noteworthy Black Canadians


Rachel Almaw BHM









 Rachel Almaw
"I’m currently in my third year of Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo with a Pre-Clinical Specialization.  Throughout my undergrad I’ve been a part of the student government, sat on awards committees and mentored a number of incoming first year students.  I’ve recently begun a research fellowship to explore the lived experience of pain amongst BIPOC living with osteoarthritis.  It’s apparent that there are huge disparities in healthcare and I’m hopeful that this research can set the precedent for what future research and treatment will look like.  Outside of school, I’ve been able to partner with an NGO that provides clean water to rural villages in Ethiopia.  Opportunities like this have helped me realize just how important advocacy is and inspired me to push for change no matter the cost.  

A quote that has grounded me through the ups and downs of these past few years is this: Good things usually don’t come easy so lean into the tough times and show up for yourself.  Because in ten or twenty years, you’ll be grateful you did."

Sawyer Carnegie BHM









 Sawyer Carnegie
“My name is Sawyer Carnegie. I am from London, Ontario and I attended London Central Secondary School from 2009-2013. After graduating from Central, I moved to Wolfville, Nova Scotia to attend Acadia University where I completed a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in English Literature and Gender Studies. I am now attending Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, completing my Masters of Arts in the Atlantic Canada Studies program. My thesis research focuses on African Nova Scotian newspapers and the role they played in Black activism.”

Travae Williams BHM









 Travae Williams
“Travae Williams is a 22 year old upcoming theatre artist and a recent TVDSB graduate. He is a 3rd year student of the prestigious Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance program at Sheridan College. He is also currently working with Smile Theatre Company, “A registered charity that exists to enrich the lives of seniors in care by presenting meaningful, well-crafted, professional performances created just for them.” Travae is a singer, dancer/ choreographer, actor, and musician. He makes it his priority to continuously spread love, encouragement, and motivation through inspiring online posts, through his music, and in his daily life.”

Travae Williams BHM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myah Romain
 "Myah started her journey of advocacy, public speaking, and awareness when she was in Kindergarten. Even at a young age she was aware and proud of her Black heritage. Myah began creating daily announcements to share with her school. She would share on video, information about community events, her favourite books, and people making a difference in our community. Myah has continued to do this for over five years and strives to be a leader in her school and community. Myah participates in events put on in London, works closely with her mentor from the Multicultural Outreach Program and looks for ways to take part in local advocacy efforts. In 2020, Myah was one of the recipients of the TVDSB Culture for Learning Student Leadership Award. Myah enjoys being active, participating in dance, acrobatics, piano, soccer and even football. Her bright outlook on life and true commitment to making a difference in our world are amazing at such a young age. Myah strives to reach her goals and undoubtedly will move mountains one day!"

Shad BHM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Shad
“Shadrach Kabango (a.k.a. Shad, Shad K.), rapper, singer, songwriter, radio host (born 18 July 1982 in Kenya). Witty, passionate and earnest, Shad is a Juno Award-winning rapper known for his sharp, socially conscious lyrics. His playful musical style blends rap and hip-hop with rock, R&B and other genres. In 2008 and 2010, the National Post named him the best rapper in Canada, and in 2013 CBC Music ranked him No. 2 in their list of the 25 Greatest Canadian Rappers Ever. Paste magazine hailed him in 2013 as “Canada’s most talented, genuine musical artist and one of the industry’s finest poets.” Shad has been nominated for the Polaris Music Prize four times (2008, 2010, 2014, 2019) and hosted CBC Radio One’s flagship talk show q from April 2015 to August 2016.”

Miranda Ayim BHM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miranda Ayim

“Miranda Ayim has been representing Canada since she was a junior, helping Canada to a silver medal at the 2006 U-19 FIBA World Championship qualifying tournament. During the summer of 2007, she played in both the U-19 and U-21 FIBA World Championships. Ayim was named to the senior national team in 2008 and helped Canada qualify for London 2012, putting the women’s team in the Olympic tournament for the first time since 2000. She made her debut at the FIBA World Championship in 2014, averaging 8.3 points and a team-leading 5.4 rebounds in helping Canada to a fifth place finish, the country’s best result since 1986. In 2015 she helped Canada win gold on home soil at the Pan American Games in Toronto, averaging 7.8 points per game. She was also part of the Canadian team that won the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship, qualifying the squad for Rio 2016. In her second Olympic Games, Ayim averaged 4.7 points per game.”

 

Source:https://olympic.ca/team-canada/miranda-ayim/ 

Dr. Floydd Ricketts, DMus BHM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Dr. Floydd Ricketts, DMus
"Dr. Floyyd Ricketts is an acclaimed academic, musician and music director, as well as being a recent TVDSB graduate. “I’ve been a professional music director working at theatres across the continent, such as the Citadel (Edmonton), The Royal Manitoba (Winnipeg), Centaur (Montreal), Dicapo (New York City) and the Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake). Recently, I became the Head of Music at the National Theatre School of Canada (English section). My advice: “Be kind. Keep your promises. Be gentle on yourself.”"

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