Why Do We Celebrate Black History Month? What Does Black History Month Mean to You?  At Dulles School of Excellence, here are responses from some of our sixth-grade students:

“I think we celebrate Black History Month because we’re celebrating what they did for us so we can be who we are today, and so we can one day be like them.”

“We celebrate Black History Month to celebrate all the good things African Americans have done. Black History Month means a lot to me because it gives black people a chance to celebrate the good things they have done for America and themselves.”

This month at Dulles School of Excellence, staff and City Year are collaborating to celebrate a Black History Month full of activities. 

Mr. Byrd, a 6th 7th grade English/Language Arts teacher, is co-leading the Black History Month activities with us. When I asked him why this month is important to him, he responded: 

“Black history is the admiration and analysis of black people's achievements and impact on society. It should be studied all year long as it sheds insight about culture, values, ethics, legislation, art, sports, ingenuity, I could go on. I appreciate the special time that we focus to celebrate it, especially in light of the fact that black people's history is sometimes misrepresented or undervalued as irrelevant to everyone. It is my hope that through the celebration of black history, that the legacy of black influence and accomplishments continue to motivate people everywhere to create and live for moments of purpose/significance.”

Black History Month highlights the accomplisments and the legacy of African Americans.

Tuesday, February 21st: African RoyaltyThe largest part of the celebrations will take place towards the end of the month during spirit week, February 21st-February 23rd.  Here’s an outline of what those days will look like:

  • Wednesday, February 22nd: African Pride

  • Thursday, February 23rd: Historically Black Colleges, Fraternities, or Sororities

  • Friday, February 24th: Movie Day

Other events happening that week will include a door decorating contest with the theme, “Historical Black Figures or Historically Black Colleges” with the winners receiving a $25 gift card.  The door decorating is not the only competition that will be happening this month however.  Students will have an opportunity to share their creative words with a poetry contest.  A winner will be picked from each grade level after submitting a poem with the prompt, “Black is beautiful because…”.  Winners will have a chance to recite their poems at the Family Engagement Night (FEN) being held on February 23rd.   

Dulles School of Excellence in the Greater Grand Crossing Community will host the Black History Month activities planned by City Year Chicago AmeriCorps members.

This FEN will be jam-packed and we are so excited about it! Throughout the month leading up to the FEN, each grade-level will be completing a project that ranges in topic as well as presentation style. To name a few, second graders will be performing a play on Queen Nanny and the Maroons in Jamaica, fifth graders will create a call to action on Black Lives Matter, and seventh graders will put together videos on Armed Rebellion: Nat Turner and Haitian Revolution.  These projects will be presented or displayed throughout the school during FEN.  To kick off the night, a choir will sing the black national anthem and a step dance will be performed.  Additionally, there will be a resource fair with multiple community organizations providing information to our families. 

Currently, our team and school staff are hard at work to get everything done, and the anticipation and excitement are building.  This is an important month to celebrate and we want to make sure that we do it the right way.  That being said, be sure to check back in a few weeks for a blog post follow-up of how the month’s events went!

By Sarah Divney: Sarah Divney is a City Year Chicago AmeriCorps member serving on the Chicago Transit Authority Team at the Dulles School of Excellence. Read more about her service in the coming months as she continues to participate as a Red Jacket Reporter.

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