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School Board Approves Recognition of National Black History Month (02-13-24)




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Feb. 13, 2024


School Board Approves Recognition of National Black History Month


The Los Angeles School Board, today, unanimously approved recognizing February as National Black History Month and celebrating the central role of African Americans throughout U.S. history. Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III authored the resolution, which was co-sponsored by the rest of the board.


Regarding this year’s African Americans and the Arts theme, Board Member McKenna, who is African American, said, “Black people have created art of all forms as a means of creative expression from our earliest days in the Americas and have been an integral force of driving cultural, social and political change. To that end, I have spent my career as an educator fighting for sufficient resources for Black students to maximize academic achievement. It is my hope that we will make good on that commitment to our students by providing them with an education that is inclusive of visual and performing arts.”


“Los Angeles has been enriched and enhanced by the Black community, and the tapestry of our great city would be incomplete with them,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Black History Month is a time when we recognize and celebrate the many historical, cultural, social, political and economic contributions of African Americans in our classrooms and society, an opportunity that must be observed throughout the year.”


“It’s important to recognize Black History Month not just to celebrate different cultures and learn about history, but to use this opportunity to continue to fight for true social, economic and racial justice,” said Board President Jackie Goldberg.


“We should never shy away from telling students about the lives of powerful and influential African-Americans who have shaped our country,” said Board Vice President Scott M. Schmerelson. “Let Black History Month not just be a celebration of how far we have come but also an acknowledgment of the work we have to do to help elevate our black students and families through equitable policies and practices.”


“Celebrating Black History Month allows us to shine a light on the histories of Black Americans that are essential to the fabric of our neighborhoods and our nation,” said Board Member Dr. Rocío Rivas. “I am proud that our District can lead with equity at a time when conservative political leaders in the United States seek to strike the vibrant history of Black Americans from school curriculums. We are here for our students; we are here for our community and our country.”


“Black History Month is an opportunity for our students to honor the contributions oAfrican Americans who have shaped the nation,” said Board Member Nick Melvoin. “While it’s important to commemorate Black leaders and celebrate this rich history, traditions, and culture in February, we should uplift these stories and engage in these discussions year-round. We must also continue to dismantle structures of racism and ensure our Black students have the support and resources to succeed in our classrooms and beyond.”


“Black history is American history, and every February, we have an opportunity to renew our commitment to celebrating Black History all year long in our public schools,” said Board Member Kelly Gonez. “I’m proud of our Los Angeles Unified commitment to building an inclusive curriculum for our Black students and all students.”


“I am proud of our district for expanding its efforts to acknowledge the contributions of our Black students, families, community leaders and ancestors all year long,” said Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin. “As we celebrate Black History Month we also commemorate the second year anniversary of our unanimously passed ‘Black Student Excellence through Educator Diversity, Preparation and Retention’ to respond to the unique challenges faced by our Black students, employees, and families. Ensuring a diverse workforce, particularly with our Black teachers and leaders, as a critical component for our students' success.”


For the most up-to-date information, please follow Los Angeles Unified on X/Twitter at @laschools and @lausdsup, Instagram at @laschools and @lausdsup and Facebook at @laschools and @AlbertoMCarvalho1.