A new group at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School is taking a stand against racism by solidifying an allyship with the BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of colour) community.
“STM prides itself on being a diverse community, where the multitude of races, nationalities and religions are evident,” said student member Midhaa Ahmed.
Labeled uKnighted Against Racism, the group not only celebrates this diversity, but also uses it as a vessel to educate members on the continuous issues of prejudice faced by BIPOC communities within the school community and society at large.
“Being in a position where we can create change, it is an obligation that we, as a Catholic community, are open to discussions to learn and find ways to help fight against this injustice. Instead of shying away from these topics, we must bring them to light, in an educated atmosphere.”
The committee, led by teachers Stefanie West and Dwayne Harvey and Vice-Principal Kevin Monaco, is a diverse collective of students, teachers, and administrators who are passionate about racial justice, noted Ahmed.
“By committing to continuous action and providing students with the opportunity to have their voices heard in a safe and open environment, the hope is to not only educate the student body, but the community as a whole.”
Although the pandemic has halted in-person meetings, uKnighted Against Racism has been busy organizing events and initiatives that can take place remotely.
The first, a virtual talk scheduled for January 27, will welcome 2007 graduate and former Knight basketball star Tyrell Vernon.
His action on the court at STM propelled Vernon to advance his basketball career with McMaster University, St. Francis Xavier University and later as a professional player in the National Basketball League. Now, as a retired player, he heads up the St. Francis Xavier Basketball Program.
Moving into February, uKnighted Against Racism has initiatives lined up to honour Black History Month. “These are all to recognize, embrace and appreciate black lives, and how they have helped our community grow to where it is today,” said Ahmed.
Highlights of the month will include: Music
Every day, a black musical artist will be featured who has not only made a positive contribution to the black community through music but is also a role model. Both the artist and their song will be shared on the group’s social media channels. Background
Throughout the month, the group will feature a different country or region where various black students from STM are from. Committee members will create digital posters that include a flag, facts and interesting information about that specific place. This will also be shared on the group’s social media pages. Black-Owned Businesses
The group will contact local black business owners in Hamilton to help promote them on its social media pages.
“Black History month is a time dedicated to uplifting and restoring the voice and human dignity black people have been stripped of for centuries, and for the rest of the community to educate, listen and empower,” said Ahmed.
“In the future, it is our hope that in the coming months we will be able to virtually connect with students from other Hamilton high schools to discuss a multitude of issues and concerns.”
To keep up with uKnighted Against Racism, follow along on Instagram
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