The Toronto District School Board is the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. Nearly one-quarter of our students were born outside of Canada, and collectively, we speak more than 120 languages. Understanding all cultures is essential to the success of our young students today as they transform and transition to be our future leaders of tomorrow.
During the month of February, the Toronto District School Board is proud to recognize and celebrate African Heritage Month. It is an occasion to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of peoples of African descent to Canada and the world. The chosen theme for 2020-2021 is Kujichagulia: Self Determination.
We are thrilled to be sharing this poster with our updated theme. The artwork for the poster was created by students from Downsview Secondary School in 2020 under the leadership of their teacher, Matthew Chapman. Five principles of Kwanzaa are presented in this painting including the theme for 2021, Kujichagulia (Self Determination), which can be found in the fabric of one of the shirts. The other four principles present in this image are:
- Umoja (unity) the tattoo
- Nia (purpose) the logo on the shoe
- Kuumba (creativity) the logo on the shirt
- Imani (faith) the brand tag on the hijab
Black people in Canada have diverse backgrounds and experiences – while some can trace their roots in Canada for many generations, others have immigrated in recent decades.
Black Canadians are connected by a common African history and ancestry. The African-Canadian population is made up of individuals from a range of places across the globe including, but not limited to, the United States, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Canada.
There were almost 1.2 million Black people living in Canada in 2016. The Black population is diverse and has a long and rich history in Canada.
Among the Black population born outside of Canada, the source countries of immigration have changed over time. More than half of this population who immigrated before 1981 were born in Jamaica and Haiti. Black newcomers now come from about 125 different countries, mainly from Africa.
The African Heritage Month Volunteer Planning Committee continues to name, notice, and disrupt anti-Black racism through their organized initiatives shared throughout the TDSB and commitment to hold space for Black students, staff, parents, families, and elders to heal, to celebrate and to thrive. We are excited to share more information about African Heritage Month.
During the month of February, several activities are being planned and they include; a launch to kick-off African Heritage Month, Know Your Worth Conference: Black Resistance in collaboration with Black Law Students Association of Osgoode Hall Law School (York University) for secondary students; and the expansion of the Black Student Alliances. We are especially proud of the establishment of the Know Your Worth Scholarship fund and Black Leadership Council at the Toronto District School Board.
Donate to African Heritage Month to direct your donations to support all clubs, events, and activities.
Follow us on Twitter @tdsbAFricanHM and Instagram @ @tdsb_african_hm
Calendar of Events
African Heritage Month Celebration Launch
Monday, February 1, 1 p.m.
Watch the recorded event here
Everyone is welcome to join for a virtual celebration that includes speakers and entertainment.
Black Student Alliance Webinar: How to Start a Black Student Alliance (for TDSB staff only. Visit TDSBweb Staff News for access link)
Wednesday, February 10, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
BSAs are student groups that increase student voice, build capacity in student leadership and are supported by a TDSB staff member. Through ongoing meetings and discussions, school assemblies, guest speakers, presentations, and other initiatives students support each other, challenge anti-Black racism and contribute to ensuring the TDSB meets its commitments to equity, inclusion, and Black student success.
Stronger than Hate (link to come)
Thursday, February 25, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
In collaboration with the Jewish Heritage Month Planning Committee an event will be taking place with the Shoah Foundation to recognize the contributions of the 761st Tank Battalion of the United States Army known as the Black Panthers. Members of this Battalion were instrumental in liberating Holocaust survivors from concentration camps in Europe.
Know Your Worth Conference
Saturday, February 27, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The theme of the Know Your Worth Conference this year is Black Resistance. The 5th annual Conference will provide an opportunity for secondary students of African heritage to attend workshops that will empower, educate and create community throughout the day. The Conference is jointly planned with the Black Law Students Association at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Know Your Worth Conference for Educators
Saturday, May 29, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
In celebration of African Heritage 365, we will be holding our inaugural Know Your Worth Conference for Educators. The conference will allow for TDSB staff members to attend workshops where best practices to eradicate anti-Black racism in schools and beyond, will be discussed. The theme of this year’s inaugural Know Your Worth Conference for Educators is "A Pandemic Within A Pandemic - Lesson Learned and Moving Forward In A Positive Direction".