PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Artwork popping up throughout Palm Beach highlight Black culture in honor of Black History Month, and the trailblazers that have paved the way for current generations.
It’s called the “Kijana educational empowerment initiative” and organizers have 50 different posters of Black leaders.
They’re hoping to distribute them in as many schools, libraries and other locations who would like them free of charge.
“Diversity and inclusion is absolutely important because we live in a diverse society and we need to make sure we are inclusive of all the different cultures that are represented in our society” Dr. Clarence Walker, a social studies teacher at Suncoast High School and the sponsor of the school’s Black Student Union.
Celebrations in Palm Beach County, Treasure Coast
On Tuesday, a set was donated to Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, where students with the school’s Black Student Union began to put them on display.
“I think what’s really nice about this is that there are a lot of people that they aren’t familiar with because there’s a lot of Black history that isn’t taught in that sense and so there are a lot of questions that come up and a lot of discussions that start because of these people being put on display like this,” said Justin Ricketts the president of Suncoast’s Black Student Union. “With Black History Month it comes a lot of discussions, it comes a lot of people paying attention it comes a lot of time to really celebrate and really enjoy black culture and everything that comes with it.”
The Kijana project was created by James Cummings, who was a teacher in Kenya and has a Master’s Degree in African history.
“It became kind of my mission to expand education about Africa and schools and high schools because I discovered I was teaching middle school that there was a large gap, a huge, huge gap between knowledge of a sophisticated scholarly level of Africa and high school and middle school throughout the country,” Cummings said.
There will also be an essay contest with a cash reward, in efforts to better encourage the youth to engage in and learn about the people displayed in the artwork.
“It’s really inspiring to me,” Claire Salmon, the graphic designer for the posters and U.S. operations manager for Kijana, said. “Art is meant to be shared and it’s meant to be a learning process and I think every time kids see something new or new figure or new role model it’s an opportunity for a new path to open up.”
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