This year at our school, in addition to dismantling some long-held traditions that were problematic, and engaging in a 21-week Racial Equity Challenge- which has been amazing, we are celebrating Black History Month in a way we have never done before. I am so incredibly proud of my school for embracing change and valuing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice work year round. If you celebrate Black History Month, I hope we all realize the importance of celebrating Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian People of Color (BBIAPOC) music and musicians throughout the year, not only during the nationally designated, recognized, and celebrated months.
This year we are also having a door decoration contest, with each teacher celebrating one African American/Black person of influence and importance. Teachers are relating this to content within the classroom and students will have a socially-distanced gallery crawl as well as a time to hear about each person by the students via video announcements in classrooms. It is exciting, but we also need to work on our curricula, traditions, histories, and centering voices of BBIAPOC within our classrooms.
I chose Ella Fitzgerald, and students will be listening to and learning about this barrier-breaker and glass-ceiling-shatterer throughout the month as well as learning about Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Esperanza Spalding - here is one of my favorite videos of her!