This February, Cannon School celebrated an incredibly successful and impactful month of Black History activities. The Spectrum Advisory Board planned a host of events for our community to celebrate and recognize the achievements and contributions of black Americans.
“Events this year far exceed anything we have ever done in years past,” said Michelle Zelaya, Upper School Diversity Coordinator. “Events such as these are a vital part of the Spectrum Advisory Board’s mission to spearhead schoolwide initiatives that educate, celebrate, and raise awareness of the rich diversity within our community.”
With the help of PAC group Cannon Cultures, Spectrum invited Professor Amad Shakur, Executive Director of the African Diaspora, to speak to our students about “The History of Black History Month” and “Myths, Misunderstandings and Misconceptions about the Black Community.” They also hosted a panel discussion with current students and faculty that focused on the black experience. The month’s culminating event was an artistic and creative program in the CPAC during Student Life block which included student dance and spoken word performances as well as well as local experts.
In addition, students in the Lower and Middle Schools came together in a meaningful way to explore, discuss, and above all – celebrate. Students interested in diversity issues worked on an interactive hallway display which combined prevalent African-Americans with those who may not be as well-known. Middle School Diversity Coordinator Stephanie Ranson and Lower School Dean of Diversity Deanna Dobbins worked together to highlight the lives of a handful of amazing African American historical figures. “(We wanted to) design an activity that will challenge our own snap judgements and biases in a way that that will hopefully stir conversation and invite meaningful reflection,” said Ranson.
By all accounts, the month was meaningful and enlightening. “Our overarching goal is that our students leave Cannon School with an appreciation for all individuals and an exposure to views different than their own. We want to equip all students with the tools necessary to have courageous conversations and to face realities with which they are not familiar,” said Zelaya.