DASD celebrating Black History Month

DOWNINGTOWN — Throughout the year, Downingtown Area School District (DASD), its Cultural Equity Task Force team and the school community at large make a concerted effort to celebrate many of our nation’s month-long observances. February is Black History Month and DASD is excited to celebrate.

Black History Month is the recognition and celebration of the successes and contributions of African Americans in the country and abroad. The individual credited for the creation of the month of celebration is Carter G. Woodson. Black History Month became officially recognized in 1976 by Gerald Ford, who said “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Lionville Elementary School principal Shelda Perry noted, “Black History Month is a short time period when I intentionally focus on the sacrifices and accomplishments made by my ancestors and fellow Black Americans today. I am honored and grateful to represent a people that continue to be the change. Lionville Elementary has my whole heart and I will always strive for continuous growth and improvement for all students and staff.”

Throughout the month of February, DASD students and staff will participate in a variety of Black history activities, ranging from studying prominent African-American figures, reading literary works from famous legendary authors and participating in songs, dance and poetry. Virginia Barbarin, fourth grade teacher at Beaver Creek Elementary explained, “American History that examines the nation’s past and contributions of Africans and African-Americans benefits ALL people. To exclude our history and contributions does not mean the past did not happen, nor that the people do not exist.”

This month, the district’s Cultural Equity Taskforce will invite teachers, staff, community members and alumni to come together to share their stories. Through these conversations, the district hopes to better understand its school communities’ truths. Kecia Nesmith, Principal of the DASD Cyber Academy added, “As we commemorate Black history in DASD in 2022, I believe that it is important that we go beyond the surface of recognition of a few prolific BIPOC in history, and dig deeper to fully understand the harsh realities, the silenced truths, and the hope-filled triumphs within Black History, rather, American History, that have shaped our past and permeate our present, so that our students, the future leaders of our country, can fully understand and honor the legacy of Black/African-Americans and continue the path forward for equality and justice.”

DASD’s district Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Director plans to continue to advance the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion objectives. “I am proud to continue to lead Downingtown’s commitment to educational equity and ensure that the learning and working environment in the DASD is welcoming, accessible and affirming of all identities and lived experiences. We have made great strides in the past year and I am excited to see what the future holds for DEI work in DASD.”

While DASD schools continue to celebrate Black History Month throughout February, there are numerous community activities scheduled this month within the greater Downingtown Area. Please check your local listings for events and programming. To learn more about DASD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program, please visitwww.dasd.org/diversity.

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