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Surrey Schools celebrates Black History Month with launch of Black Studies 12 course & Black Youth Summit


As the district recognizes February as Black History Month, this year’s observation also marks the start of the district’s Black Studies course, providing Grade 12 students with a historical view of Black culture in Canada and a deeper understanding of ongoing social issues faced by racialized groups.

The course, recently launched at Earl Marriott, Frank Hurt, Guildford Park and L.A. Matheson secondary schools, encourages students to employ critical thinking skills, deconstruct stereotypes, promote inclusion and work towards anti-racism for BIPOC groups.

“Many students have come up to me saying how excited they are to take the course,” said Frank Hurt teacher Melanie Scheuer, who has 28 students enrolled this semester. “They are eager to finally learn about Black people’s excellence in the past and present. Those who are part of the Black community are pleased about being more fully represented and about the chance to know their history while seeing their lived experiences validated.”

Scheuer said the course provides an opportunity for students to learn a more complete historical narrative of Canada and the current realities for racialized groups.

“It is critical that Black students see themselves and their backgrounds represented, respected and celebrated in their classrooms and school communities, and that non-Black students are educated about Black experiences to ensure understanding and become accomplices in combating anti-Black racism,” she said. “Teaching Black history is Canada’s history, as the Hon. Jean Augustine rightly asserts, and Black history and excellence is 365 days a year – it should not just be relegated to one month of awareness and learning. This course helps with those truths.”

Throughout the month of February, there are a number of events for students to learn more about Black history and anti-Black racism.

Surrey Schools has partnered with Solid State Community Industries to host Black School’d: Black Youth Summit on the Friday, Feb. 24 non-instructional day, discussing how to eradicate anti-Black racism in schools. The event is exclusively for Black youth in Surrey age 15-25 in Black Student Unions and takes place at the Civic Hotel, 13475 Central Ave., at 10:30 a.m.

On Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m., Surrey Archives will host guest speaker Yasin Kiraga Misago, president of the African Descent Society BC for a free, virtual, one-hour session. Attendees can learn about B.C.’s early history of African descent, dating back to 1858. Those interested can register online or by phone at 604-501-5100.

The BC Black History Awareness Society is hosting its second of three virtual events in its African Ancestry Project: Youth Dialogue Series on Saturday, Feb. 11, engaging 40 Black and racialized youth age 15-19 on identity and belonging in B.C. Youth or their parents or guardians can email to register or fill out the registration form.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 4 p.m., WE Schools hosts Civic Responsibility in Education: Empowering Students to Become Inspired Citizens, an hourlong live virtual event featuring Martin Luther King III. The oldest son of Martin Luther King Jr. will share ideas and inspiration for leading service projects in schools for the betterment of local communities and the world. To register, click here.

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