ONTARIO – ANCHOR and Parents of Black Children are two organizations that are dedicated to ending anti-Black racism in schools and creating spaces for Black children to thrive in the education system. This weekend the organizations came together to celebrate Black students and relish in Black joy.
Deemed “The Young, Gifted and Black Summer Fun Day”, the Saturday event celebrated the accomplishments of nearly 150 students in Parents of Black Children’s EDGE Tutoring program and ANCHOR’s summer READI program.
The Organizations Behind the Celebration
According to their website, ANCHOR’s READI Program was created to ensure that Black students are prepared for the upcoming school year. The program consists of a summer school for Black children where they’ll thrive in environments that organizers say are affirming, supportive and caring. Programs are open for students in grades one through 12, including both academic and cultural programs.
Meanwhile, Parents of Black Children’s EDGE Tutoring Program currently supports 62 students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 by providing two weekly hour-long tutoring sessions in subjects like math, social science, and French.
Celebrating Black Students’ Achievements
This Saturday, Black families from across Ontario celebrated their children’s accomplishments at Maple highschool. Students from both programs received awards, and certificates of achievement, while one student was presented with a $3,500 scholarship from Parents of Black Children.
In addition to the awards, a Ceremony of Belonging was held. Described as a special visual ceremony led by Black community elders, students received Kente/Ankara cloth and were encircled by members of their community who showered them with words of affirmation and love as a rite of passage, building them up for their upcoming school year.
Organizers also shared why this celebration was important to them.
“We have marched for Black students, we have rallied, we fight for Black children every day, but this event is about celebrating their excellence, their brilliance and their joy,” says Kearie Daniel, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Parents of Black Children.
“It is an event about uplifting them and building them up so they can return to school armoured, ready to navigate their way through anti-Black racism, and ready to achieve, knowing their community village is behind them, beside them and in front of them,” Daniel continued, adding that PoBC hopes the Ontario government will continue to invest in Black children through programs like the Edge Tutoring Program.
“It is essential that we lay a positive framework for Black students to continue to excel and be motivated to achieve great heights within academics,” shared Shernett Martin, Executive Director of ANCHOR.
“While we continue to fight for them through our advocacy, we also need to show them what we are fighting for, the light at the end of anti-Black racism. Our ultimate goal is equitable opportunity within education for our Black students. We want to show them what is possible despite being criminalized and over-policed in School,” Martin continued.
In addition to awards and ceremonies, students also took part in a Black student talent show, while entrepreneurs gathered to create a Black-owned marketplace.