Black History Month is celebrated every February by schools across the country through many different initiatives. This year at MGCI, one such initiative is a series of informational posters, each focusing on one of the fifty four UN member African countries. The posters were assembled by Mr. Alexander and the students in his ELD-E (English Learning Development) class. The ELD classes are for newcomer students who do not speak English and have not received prior formal education.
With the help of Ms. Mexis and Ms. Miller, the students researched and compiled information sheets on the countries. Each sheet highlights important facts pertaining to the country, including its culture, lifestyle, climate, and prominent leaders. This information was then arranged by Mr. Alexander into the form of scroll-length posters, which will be put around the school throughout the month.
The purpose of the posters is to encourage greater awareness throughout the school in regards to the people and countries of Africa. “Our understanding of ‘diaspora’ is dependent on our awareness of the home communities that were mothers to the diaspora,” said Mr. Alexander. “I hope the students who stop by the posters will gain a greater understanding of these groups of people, whose members are a part of our community.” Clubs and teachers are also invited to incorporate the information on the posters into their own initiatives and in-class activities. In addition, Mr. Alexander put up a second series of world maps that highlight the second languages of every country.
For the students in the ELD-E class, Mr. Alexander hoped that the project would be a window to the volume of work and time constraints that they may experience in regular academic courses. “If I ever get a project in future that is related to countries in other continents, I’ll know how to answer questions properly because I did a project on countries in Africa already,” said Muhammad Umar Siddiqui, one of the students in the class. Above all, the goal of the project lies parallel to the goal of Black History Month: to honour and celebrate the heritage of African-Canadians.