Today, February 1, Black History Month begins. This is a particularly exciting month at City Garden, as it is a time when our Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist Commitment really shines through several special events and we strive to “work as a team to dismantle and reorganize the systems that support racism and privilege” and “actively support each other and our families to acknowledge, honor, and appreciate differences.”
Among the happenings this February are several public events:
Junior High Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser – February 3 @ 9:00 am – 11:30 am – A gathering of community–completely organized by our Junior High students–to enjoy a meal together and raise funding our Junior Highers’ Capstone Trip.
Housing Resource Fair – February 17 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm – Hosted by our Coalition for Neighborhood Diversity and Housing Justice, a space for residents in our community to sit face-to-face with representatives from financial institutions, the City of Saint Louis, home repair programs, utility assistance, and much more!
Teacher of Color Recruitment Event – February 19 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm or 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm – A chance for teachers of Color to come tour the school, meet administrative leaders, and hear a short presentation about our work at City Garden Montessori, and in our community.
Black History Program – February 22 @ 6:00 pm – An evening of performances from our students in honor of Black History Month.
Celebrating Black History is a constant practice at City Garden and isn’t limited to February. As our Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist Commitment outlines, we “incorporate anti-bias education at every level of our school.” In January, we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a “MLK Day On” at the Moolah Theater where our community watched the documentaries “Black In America Since MLK: and Still I Rise” and “The Ruby Bridges Story” (for the younger students). Two of our Junior High students attended the film screenings and shared reflections on the experience:
The movie “Black In America Since MLK: and Still I Rise” followed prominent activists throughout the civil rights movement. The movie did not focus entirely on the giants of the civil rights movement, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X, but included others that I had never heard of but made a great impact. The pictures and interviews were very moving and many scenes left me with goosebumps. The last decade the movie covered was the ‘40’s, but it was relatable to things you still see or hear about today. It made me realize how recent these events were, that my grandparents lived in that time. The movie was very moving and left me ashamed of what my race has done and is continuing to do to African Americans in this country. It made me want to help in any way to make a change.
What the movie “Black In America Since MLK: and Still I Rise” was mainly about was where this interviewer asked other popular and well-known individuals who were very active in the movement about what they saw and thought. There were two parts of the movie. First was where they gave a basic idea of what was happening and how it’s still going on today. In the second part, they went further into detail and how it affected them. It also showed how each person played a role in the movement, like a political leader who gave a new fire to the movement by trying to become president. The movie was telling all the events in the civil rights movement. The way it affected me wasn’t really that major. It just repeated what I already knew and confirmed my assumptions. A lot of what white folks did was bad and inhumane and that massively disappoints me. Overall, the movie gave further detail into the struggle for Blacks and their viewpoint and comparing it to the white folk’s viewpoint as well.
The theme for City Garden’s Black History Program this year is “Ubuntu: I am because we are.” Ubuntu comes from the Nguni language in Southern Africa and refers to all of humanity being interconnected and that an individual’s well-being is dependent upon that of everyone else’s. In essence, we are not alone; we are interdependent community. Atticus and Alex felt Ubuntu as they realized how recent and connected the Civil Rights Movement was to their own lives and were disappointed by the racism evident in our world then and now. The Junior Highers organizing the Pancake Breakfast this Saturday are nourishing Ubuntu by bringing our community together to share food and build collective support. Through the Housing Resource Fair, our Coalition for Neighborhood Diversity and Housing Justice is recognizing that the ability of our neighbors to maintain secure housing is critical to City Garden’s own success as an integrated school focused on “reimagining community.” The Teacher of Color Recruitment Event is serving Ubuntu by both reducing barriers teachers of Color often face in finding equitable employment and meeting City Garden’s need for a community of teachers who reflect the various identities of our students.
We hope you will join us during February and throughout the year as City Garden continues to foster Ubuntu in our work, our students, and our community.