Across the network in February, students and adults planned creative and meaningful ways to celebrate Black History Month. Using art, culture, current events, writing, music, film, fashion, and more, members of our community had the opportunity to express themselves and share diverse aspects of black culture and heritage:
Students at Brooklyn Prospect High School participated in a number of events, including learning how to wrap their hair in traditional African head wrap fashion; learning about police brutality and gang culture by reading & watching “The Hate U Give,” hearing Cornell student Traci Celestin talk about navigating society and politics as a person of color, and visiting the various birthplaces of hip hop around New York City.
In addition to celebrating African-American music through the ages and hosting a sit-in to protest police brutality and black lives lost, the Brooklyn Prospect Windsor Terrace Middle School community spent a day carrying the words of inspirational black poets in their pockets. Students and faculty put together a video celebrating Langston Hughes’ poem Let America Be America Again.
Black History Month at Brooklyn Prospect Downtown Elementary School was a catalyst for discussions about identity where teachers pushed themselves to have challenging conversations about the role that identity plays in our classrooms. During Morning Meeting and Inquiry time, students had the opportunity to talk about race and, in some cases, about class. Conversations ranged from the impact of touching someone’s hair, to the ways in which we are different, to the discomfort that may come with difference, to what makes a great leader. Town Hall was used as a time to discuss the ways in which Martin Luther King Jr. exemplified many IB Learner Profiles as well as a chance to introduce students to less well-known historical figures, such as Claudette Colvin and Garrett Morgan.
At Brooklyn Prospect Clinton Hill Middle School, students learned and talked about Black History Month in Advisory and worked together with their Advisors on visual projects that would be displayed throughout the school. Students discussed identity, history, race, segregation, prejudice, and how their community can continue to celebrate black history and culture throughout the year.