SARAH MURDOCH & NADINE COFFEY, GFESS, February 16, 2023, VOL. 4 ISSUE 13
Black History Month is a time to celebrate the contributions and achievements of Black Canadians. Currently, the Student Equity Alliance (SEA) at Greater Fort Erie Secondary School is celebrating Black History Month through a number of initiatives. It all started with a bulletin board in the cafeteria. Recently SEA went on an Equity Walk with members of the DSBN Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism team, they recognized that some of our common spaces had an opportunity to greater reflect the growing diversity of our student body. In January, the members of SEA designed a bulletin board to educate and celebrate Tamil Heritage Month and the Lunar New Year. This month’s Black History board is centered around Black activists and leaders.
Black History Month is all-encompassing at GFESS. The music that plays in the morning highlights Black artists and is followed by an informative announcement spotlighting Black excellence in Canada. SEA recognizes that education is the foundation for systemic change and as a result, the Grade 10s will be participating in a viewing of the Carousel Players Meet Chloe followed by a debriefing activity to engage students in deep thinking and collaboration on how we can implement change in our school. We are also hosting a film festival next week to recognize unique voices and give students new ways to look at the world. Centering Black voices and stories is a key component of the way GFESS is choosing to celebrate this month.
The Student Equity Alliance was formed to promote and ensure that all students’ identities are represented and included in the school culture and in lessons in the classroom. It started with a group of students who wanted to see themselves represented in all areas of the school. Since the inception of this group, the Fort Erie community has been supportive of our initiatives and interested in creating partnerships moving forward. The Fort Erie Diversity and Inclusion Coalition recently attended a meeting to express their interest and invite members of SEA to attend their future meetings to elevate youth voice and vision in our community. FORTIS Ontario has also reached out to express their interest in supporting our future actions. To encourage the personal growth and empowerment of students here at GFESS, some SEA members will be attending the Future Black Female Conference on February 17th in St. Catharines.