North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Apr 18
Cove Cliff Honours Black History Month and Black Excellence

By Bridget O-Brien-Kopacek, Principal

CoveCliff_NaaSheka_01.pngIn the spirit of diversity, inclusion, and in celebration of Black History Month, the Cove Cliff school community, took an innovative approach to honour the achievements and contributions of influential Black Canadians. The front windows were lined with posters of notable contemporary Black Canadians, including artists, politicians, athletes, authors and musicians, whose contributions were featured on morning announcements, and incorporated into classroom teachings in innovative ways. The posters served as conversation starters, prompting students and staff to delve deeper into the lives and accomplishments of the individuals featured. This immersive approach helped foster a sense of understanding, empathy, and appreciation for the diverse experiences within the Black Canadian community.


The highlight of the month was the visit of Naa Sheka Riby-Williams, an Afro-Canadian artist whose recent and most notable work includes the design of the Vancouver Canucks 2024 Black Excellence logo and jersey. Naa Sheka not only brought her artistic excellence to Cove Cliff but also shared her powerful story and imparted valuable lessons on anti-racism and cultural communication. During her visits, Naa Sheka shared her personal journey, providing insights into the challenges she faced growing up in Vancouver. Her narrative was both inspiring and eye-opening: emphasizing the importance of resilience, self-expression, and breaking down racial barriers. Naa Sheka's teachings highlighted the power of sport and art as mediums for community creation, personal expression, and cultural understanding. Through her work, she demonstrated that creativity and teamwork have the potential to bridge gaps, break stereotypes, and foster a sense of unity among diverse communities. Naa Sheka shared her passion beyond the classroom walls and challenged grade 6 and 7s students to a pick-up game of basketball. The game was electric!


As February ended, we were thrilled to share the enriching journey our Cove Cliff community has embarked upon and our plans to continue learning and honouring beyond a single month. Through exploring Black Canadian history and contemporary contributions, we not only broadened our understanding but also reaffirmed our commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. Encouraged by the impactful art and cultural exchanges, we are eager to carry forward the lessons learned into our daily interactions and conversations. Together, we continue to nurture an environment where every person feels valued, celebrated, and empowered to thrive.  


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