Celebrating Heritage, Inspiring Change: The Evolution of National Black Awareness Day
At School of the Nations, the celebration of National Black Awareness Day holds a special place in our academic calendar, emphasizing the importance of understanding and honoring the contributions of black individuals to our society. Commemorative events like this play a pivotal role in shaping students' day-to-day learning experiences, fostering a sense of awareness, respect, and appreciation for the rich cultural diversity that defines our nation.
Elementary and Early Childhood Celebrations
This year, our youngest learners in Elementary and Early Childhood engaged in reading circles to delve into the works of various black authors and explore the stories of black protagonists. Through literature, these students gained insights into the diversity of experiences within the black community, promoting empathy and understanding.
Middle School Explorations
In Middle School, the curriculum was enriched with activities that integrated social studies and Portuguese to deepen students' understanding of black awareness. Grade 7 students delved into the history of Zumbi dos Palmares, gaining insights into his origins and the enduring lessons he left for Brazilian society. Meanwhile, Grade 8 students expressed their reflections on Black Awareness Day through poetry, capturing the struggles and triumphs of the black community.
High School Assembly
The highlight of the day for High School students and staff was an assembly led by Mr. Jorge Sobrinho, our esteemed High School history teacher. The assembly provided a comprehensive overview of the origin and significance of National Black Awareness Day, emphasizing its relevance in contemporary society. This engaging session aimed to inspire critical thinking and reflection among the students about the ongoing fight against racism and inequality.
Hidaya Mombo, a Grade 10 student, passionately expressed her thoughts on National Black Awareness Day. She commended the school's initiatives but emphasized that there's always room for more. Her message echoes the sentiment that continuous learning is key, urging everyone to delve deeper into the diverse aspects of Black Awareness Day.
Hidaya highlighted the importance of engagement and learning across various subjects—history, Portuguese, and beyond. According to her, understanding the origins and background of this day is essential for a comprehensive education. She emphasized the need for nationwide acknowledgment, drawing attention to disparities between states like Brasília and Bahia. For Hidaya, awareness should transcend geographical boundaries, reaching every corner of our country.
In her message to the Nations community, she said, "I would like to say that it's not only the people who should be celebrated but also the history of black people and the pain, the suffering they went through. I feel like people need to know about the history and the historical events that led to this day and to the society we have now."
Historical Context, Roots, and Official Recognition
The inclusion of November 20th as "National Black Awareness Day" in the school calendar dates back to 2003, following the enactment of Law no. 10,639. This law mandated the teaching of African and Afro-Brazilian history and culture in the country's basic education network, responding to the efforts of Black Movement activists who advocated for anti-racist education to address social inequalities persisting for decades.
The origins of National Black Awareness Day can be traced to the 1970s and 1980s, driven by the Palmares Group in Porto Alegre. The proposal gained nationwide acceptance, and November 20th emerged as a day to commemorate Zumbi dos Palmares, an iconic figure in the struggle against slavery and racism. Over time, the celebration evolved into a platform to rewrite the history of Quilombo dos Palmares, recognizing Africans and their descendants as protagonists in the quest for freedom.
The National Day of Zumbi and Black Awareness was officially instituted by Law No. 12,519 on November 10, 2011, marking the death of Zumbi. This day serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience and courage of black individuals throughout history and their ongoing contributions to shaping a more inclusive and equitable society.
National Black Awareness Day at Nations is not just a celebration; it is a commitment to fostering understanding, empathy, and respect among our students. Through engaging activities and educational initiatives, we strive to empower the next generation with the knowledge and awareness needed to contribute to a more just and inclusive world.