Black History Month Observance 2021
To Chester County School District Families & Staff,
February is Black History Month, and Chester County School District is proud to join school districts, organizations and groups from around the nation in celebrating the many contributions made by Black and African Americans to our society. It feels as if the majority of my messages so far this year have been about the pandemic because it’s still with us, but finally, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with increased vaccinations occurring. We cannot lose sight of the virus’ impact on our school community, nor should we let it consume us to the point we forget to celebrate important events like Black History Month.
February is the month we designate to celebrate the diversity, strength, and intellectual contributions our black community continues to bring to our lives. Black History Month is critical to public education, where we bring together students, families, and employees who represent a world of cultures, talents, and values.
It is in our classrooms, offices, gyms, athletic fields and cafeterias that we develop relationships with one another. Sometimes, without even knowing it, those fundamental interactions bring change. Conversations lead to friendships. Friendships provide access to lifestyles and beliefs otherwise unknown. People of all races and cultures talk, listen and learn empathy. People in all settings benefit when they find safe spaces to speak freely and be heard. We thrive when we know we are valued, welcomed, and respected. Our job as educators is to pay attention to what our students, staff, and families show and tell us they need. From there, we can find ways to utilize available tools, systems, resources, and talents to help our students and each other realize our dreams.
Black History Month reminds us that equity has to be connected with everything we do. As a district, we have taken many meaningful steps to ensure more academic opportunities for minority students. We need more of our minority students to take advantage of AP, gifted and dual credit courses.
Black History Month is a unique time in which we are encouraged to talk about race and equity. My experience is that most people are generally uncomfortable discussing race. We have to find the courage to keep talking. We must keep doing our part to rise above a difficult past if we want to create a better future for our students.
Along with similar events, Black History Month serves as a marker—a time to pause and reflect. That’s why we take the time in our schools to educate our students this month about the contributions of African Americans and how they shaped who we are as a culture today. We truly would not be where we are today without the contributions African Americans have made to education, medicine, the law, government, science and many other areas. This past year (2020) has taught us that we must remain united and lean on each other to make it. I look forward to our continued work in “Breaking Barriers and Building Futures” in Chester County Schools for ALL students. We will continue our journey of becoming a District of Distinction. We will get through this together—CHESTER COUNTY STRONG!
Dr. Antwon M. Sutton