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Blog: Monday, February 1st, 2021

February is Black History Month

By Dr. Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

February is Black History Month, a time to honour and celebrate the contributions of people of African heritage. Black History Month was first celebrated in the United States, and it is now formally observed in Canada (for over forty years), the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Here in British Columbia, there are a number of organizations dedicated to supporting Black History Month for educators, chief among them the BC Black History Awareness Society. Of course, the BC Curriculum is designed in such a manner as to allow teachers from all subject areas to meaningfully integrate this content in their classrooms. As I noted in my last post, the pandemic has surfaced a significant number of issues related to social justice around the world, and one of the ways that these might be addressed is by honouring the many contributions of countless people of colour in our society.

This work in our schools honours the diversity in our communities and creates more inclusive spaces for all students in our classrooms. I would like to kick off Black History Month by sharing fifteen quotes from black leaders who have inspired me over the years.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.”
W.E.B. Du Bois

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”
Thurgood Marshall

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”
Desmond Tutu

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
Langston Hughes

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Frederick Douglass

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
Booker T. Washington

“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”
Jesse Owens

“Just don’t give up what you’re trying to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” 
Ella Fitzgerald

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” 
Muhammad Ali

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” 
Barack Obama

“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.” 
Maya Angelou

“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you’re wasting your life.”
Jackie Robinson

“If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.”
James Baldwin

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” 
Nelson Mandela

By Dr. Kevin Godden
Dr. Kevin Godden
Dr. Kevin Godden

By Dr. Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

Kevin has been the Superintendent of Schools for the Abbotsford School District since July 2011, overseeing some 19,000 students and 2,500 employees. Kevin is committed to student success in all forms and envisions a school district that can nimbly respond to the ever changing needs and interests of its students.