MUSD Board President and Milpitas HS Alumni Class of '83 Chris Norwood, born in Spokane, Washington, shares that Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. is his favorite African American historical figure "because he cared deeply about the health, wellbeing, safety and economic mobility of others." The movie Hidden Figures is inspiring because "it showed STEM contributions of African American women in space race."
During Black History Month 2023, he plans to host events, read, donate books, watch Netflix movies with family and children. "When I was a kid, there weren’t very many positive stories about Black History. It is important for people to have positive historic role models from all walks of life."
The annual celebration is important to him because: "I am a part of Black History for my family, Milpitas Unified School District and the city of Milpitas. The work that I do on behalf of Milpitas is a part of Black History. Black history is World history; it’s American history." Additionally, "the month provides everyone an opportunity to learn about a people/culture whose positive contributions and history has been suppressed, destroyed, distorted intentionally and unintentionally. Black History Month is also a time of celebration, reflection and social healing."
Milpitas HS Activities Director Jerell Maneja, native to South San Francisco, shares that what he learned from his third grade presentation on George Washington Carver makes him his favorite African American historical figure because "I presented about Carver's advancements in science and farming, especially how to increase yields in interplanting. It started to build my interest in science and technology." The movie Jackie Robinson (along with Chadwick Boseman's portrayal in the biopic) was inspiring because it captured "the breaking of the color barrier in baseball and transformed the sport completely."
His favorite way to celebrate Black History Month is "learning about history through the African American perspective (such as the important role that slaves served in the American Revolution) along with watching films that feature African American leads, like Hidden Figures and Black Panther." The holiday is important to him since it "allows us to listen and amplify Black stories of the past beyond racism and slavery, especially about some of the great contributions African Americans have done for us but are often never shared or are downplayed." Additionally, Maneja adds: "It also helps us refocus on some of the injustices they continue to face in our present day and open discussion on the necessary steps to create a more equitable society."
Milpitas Middle College HS Principal and Dual Enrollment Coordinator Karisa Scott shares her favorite African American historical figure is Ida B. Wells, an excellent journalist and activist, "because she was fearless in the face of injustice, she refused to accept the status quo, and she lived sacrificially." She is fascinated by Maya Angelou's All God's Children Wear Traveling Shoes "because it explored the African American experience in Africa and because she is an incredibly astute and lyrical writer."
One of the ways she likes to celebrate Black History Month is to explore cultural events around the Bay Area "to expand my knowledge and build community. The SJ Mercury News always publishes a list of events happening around the Bay, check it out!" Black History Month is important to her because she can "learn more about the history, experience, and contributions of people of African Ancestry. This is especially important considering the fact that this information was suppressed for so much of this country's history."
Thomas Russell Middle School Principal Sean M. Anglon did not want to point to just one African American historical figure and instead recognizes that "the effort of many known, and oft unknown, people helped to make our world a better place for all people of color, not just those of African ancestry." The movie, The Watchmen, is a current favorite of his because it "showed, for the first time for many around the globe, both the reality of Black Wall Street as well as the horror of its destruction."
One of his favorite ways to recognize Black History Month is "talking with my family and with my students to ensure the knowledge continues to be transferred." The holiday remains important but "like Carter G. Woodson, the creator of Black History Week which became Black History Month, I actually would rather Black history, as well as the histories of other communities of color, be examined year round to better prepare children to respect and recognize each other to better work together as adults; however, I will take a solitary month in the meantime."
Burnett Elementary School Principal Hanna Asrat, a native of Irvine, CA, shares her favorite African American historical figure is Josephine Baker because "she was a celebrated dancer, a Civil Rights activist who refused to perform for segregated audiences, and a spy! What a Renaissance woman!" The current hit ABC sitcom show Abbott Elementary is one of her favorites because "it stars so many actors of color, was written by a woman of color, and is the first show about teaching and schools I've seen that provides an accurate (if sometimes hilarious and ridiculous) picture about what education really looks like." She added: "It captures the full personhood of teachers, the silliness and joy of working in an elementary school, and the relationships in schools."
Principal Asrat's favorite way to celebrate Black History Month is "to learn about historical figures I know little about, to intentionally read works by Black authors, and to listen to music by Black artists." The holiday is important to her "as a reminder that Black history is American history - and that we must continue the hard work of working towards racial justice until that is a reality for everyone."
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NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.