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Black History Month: Opportunities to Celebrate, Engage (02/03/23)

West Des Moines Community Schools invites our students, families, and staff to celebrate and engage with Black History Month this February. Black History Month is an annual celebration of African Americans and a time to recognize their critical role in the history of the United States. It is not meant to be the only time we celebrate African Americans, but rather an intentional time to highlight, promote, and reflect on their history and contributions. 

“As we celebrate Black History Month in 2023, I want to remind us to PAUSE…pause to breath, pause to listen, pause to be still, pause to feel, pause to reflect, pause to thank, pause to smile, pause to examine, pause to lead, and most importantly, pause to recognize. Recognizing the contributions of African Americans in various fields and arenas of life is imperative given the history of moral exclusion of Black bodies in our country.  I want to acknowledge and thank all African Americans in our WDMCS family and their ancestors for their contributions to our district and community.  Throughout the month, I invite all community members to commit to modeling and cultivating spaces for nuanced conversations centered on humanity.” -Dau Jok, Ph.D.

Black History Month in WDMCS

Here are some ways that WDMCS is recognizing Black History Month in 2023: 

  • WDMCS held a Black History Month luncheon for district and city leadership on Wednesday, Feb. 1. 

  • An acknowledgement of the contributions and suffering of enslaved Africans and their ascendants will be read at the beginning of all professional development sessions in February. 

  • Schools will also participate in additional professional learning about Black History Month and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • Individual schools and student groups may offer additional learning and engagement opportunities. Ask your student how their school has recognized Black History Month. 

  • WDMCS will host a community reception in honor of Black History Month on Feb. 22 at the LRC.

Community Events

Our broader community is also celebrating Black History Month. Here are some activities and information you can explore about Black History Month: 

Reception + Celebration

To close this important month, WDMCS and the City of West Des Moines would like to invite the community to a reception and celebration at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Join us for a panel discussion by community elders, a fireside chat,  rich conversations, and food provided by Black-owned businesses. 

Black History Month Reception + Celebration
5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22
Community Room — Learning Resource Center
3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA