Black History Month contest winner seeks harmony

The winner of a contest to select the public school board’s Black History Month poster for 2021 looks forward to one day “living in harmony.”

York Region District School Board (YRDSB) held a poster contest in honour of Black History Month in February. Artists were encouraged to reflect the theme of Celebrating Black Excellence in their designs.

“As a student at Woodbridge College, having my Black History Month design selected is a huge honour, especially in a challenging time like this,” says Mostafa Abdelhamid. (People have been gathering in cities around the world as part of the Black Lives Matter movement to express their anger over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who pleaded for air as a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck on May 25.)

“I love knowing that my design will play a role spread around YRDSB and everyone should have their own role to play to represent Black Excellence,” the Vaughan student says. “We should be the protectors of today to live with harmony in the future.”

A panel of experts selected four finalists from more than 250 submissions. School closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the final vote, which took place earlier this month on social media, with voting open to all YRDSB students and staff. The other finalists were Stephanie Harja, Jeremy Junmany and Analisa Reale.

“The Board’s focus on Black Excellence during Black History Month this year was a meaningful step forward in elevating the voices of our Black communities,” says Cecil Roach, Coordinating Superintendent of Equity and Indigenous Education. “It is essential to address and eliminate anti-Black racism and celebrating our Black communities is part of that. I hope that when our Black students walk the halls of our schools and see this poster, they know they are celebrated, valued and heard.”

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