Online classes will conclude at 15.05 today for the mid-term break and will resume at 08.50 on Monday, 22 February.
Any items from members of the school community for inclusion on our website can be emailed directly to Mr. O’ Shea – email@example.com
John Paul 2 Newsletter
Please click here for this week’s edition of the John Paul 2 Newsletter.
A letter to families continues to be issued each Friday during the current school closure to keep all members of the Loreto community up-to-date on developments. This week’s letter may be viewed by clicking here.
Black History Month – article by Yvette McDonnell (3rd year)
Black history month starts on February 1st and ends on March 1st each year. Black History Month is a whole month dedicated to remembering important events in black history. It also remembers black people who have important historical significance and those who have been forgotten by history. The month of February honors those who may not have been celebrated for their achievements because of the colour of their skin. This includes people like Rosa Parks. The idea of Black History Month was first started in 1976. This celebration of people and culture has come from being just an idea, to now being a major cultural event celebrated in many countries worldwide, like the USA, the Netherlands and Ireland.
Black history month isn’t just celebrated in February for no reason. It is celebrated in February to commemorate the birth month of two very important figures in the history of slave liberation in America. The first figure is the 16th president of America, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was famous for initiating the end to slavery. He issued the emancipation proclamation in 1863. This proclamation declared freedom to slaves within the confederacy of America. This law liberated over 4 million slaves in America. One of the most well-known ways Lincoln was commemorated by the black community was when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ‘I have a dream’ speech in front of the Lincoln memorial in 1963.
The other figure which the month of February celebrates is Frederick Douglass. Douglass was a black man who was liberated from slavery at age nineteen. From then on, he made it his mission to fight for human rights. He fought for the rights of people of colour in America and was called a ‘Social reformer’ by many. He was also an activist for women’s rights. His vision was to one day see America as an ‘inclusive nation’, and he worked towards making that goal a reality his whole life. To this day Frederick Douglass is called the ‘father of the civil rights movement’. Mr. Douglass spent 3 months in Ireland, even visiting Wexford in October 1845. Mr. Douglass gave two public talks in Wexford Arts Centre (then known as the Assembly Rooms) and a memorial plaque can be seen outside the Art Centre. For this reason, among many others, Black History Month is very relevant for the people of Wexford.
One of the main things that Black History Month celebrates is people. It celebrates people who never got recognition for their great achievements because of society’s racist views. This includes people like Katherine Johnson. Katherine Johnson was a mathematician for NASA from 1953 to 1988. She calculated trajectories for some of the first NASA missions to space. This also celebrates people like Bessie Coleman. Bessie Coleman was a pioneer aviatrix. She was the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s licence and the first Native American to ever hold a pilot’s licence. Coleman wanted to defeat racial stereotypes and gender roles. Although she did not live to see the liberation of women and people of colour that she dreamed of seeing, she is one of the key figures for inspiring people of colour, Native Americans and women from the 1920s to modern day.
Black history month not only celebrates the people who have impacted history. But it also celebrates the importance of black contribution to society. This kind of contribution can be many things, like music, fashion and art. One of the most easily distinguished genres of music was created by the black community in New Orleans in the early 1900s. This is Jazz music. Jazz music featured emotion and style that had never truly been expressed in music before. Jazz music included many iconic performers, like Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday.
Apart from musical expression, the black community also brought in huge trends in expression through fashion that are still extremely popular today. Things like hoop earrings, oversized clothes, acrylic nails and bucket hats were first popularised by black men and women in the 1990s and quickly grew in popularity everywhere. The 90s were extremely influenced by black culture not only by the fashion. But also, with the growth in popularity of rap music, the graffiti art style and with cultural icons like Beyonce, Scary Spice and Will Smith.
To this day, Black History Month is still very important. Even though slavery has been long abolished, and racism is by law a crime, it still exists, and the past of how black people were treated cannot be erased from history. For many young black people, black history month is a sign of hope for future opportunities and greater equality and equity to all. It shows that people who have never experienced racism, will still stand with the black community in solidarity to remember those who have been forgotten and to show respect for those who still face racial abuse.
The Loreto Inclusion Committee will be celebrating Black History Month throughout the month of February. Any students who are interested in getting involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org