The Stories around Us: CV Celebrates BHM

The Stories Around Us: CV’s Celebrates BHM
The Stories Around Us: CV’s Celebrates BHM

The Stories Around Us: CV’s Black History Month Celebration

Nadia Liban
Feature Editor
[email protected]

Cumberland Valley School District will release a series of videos during Black History Month. These videos will tell stories about black history in our area. The district will publish one video every week during the month of Feburary.

“It's something that we came up with together as a group in 2022. I wanted to do something for black history month that was more formal and I know I wanted it to be district-wide,” Assistant Superintendant of Secondary Education Dr. Mark Blanchard said. “It was an ad-hoc committee of about eight of us that sat around a table and was like ‘Okay we know we want to do something that recognizes black history month’. We wanted all of our students to have a common experience.”

The school has a goal when telling these stories. “What we determined was is that we wanted to do something that educated, celebrated, and motivated,” Blanchard said.

This year’s theme of the videos is “The Stories Around Us.” Each video will be about a topic of black history in Central Pennsylvania. “We connect to personal stories, it makes it easier to remember and it humanizes them. When we see stories of someone we see or interact with, we realize that connection. It just makes it a little different,” Blanchard said.

The series of videos will be written and produced by high school CV students who are enrolled in the school’s, History and Literature of Black Civil Rights class. “Having you guys do them it will up the level and make it so much more powerful. We think it engages you guys in the learning in a deeper way and it will be your voice not my voice.”

One video will be presented each week discussing a topic, event, location, or person who has made black history in our area. These videos will be shown to the entire district of Cumberland Valley, K-12.

“I actually think it's more important for K-5 to see it than you guys. It's not unimportant for you guys but so much of who we are, in terms of our attitudes and values, are formed when we were younger, “ Blanchard said. “If we can communicate these messages, these experiences, to students across the spectrum, then we hope for development out of that.

Blanchard strives for CV to be a anti-racist, non discriminatory, place. “My goal is would be for people to realize: wrong period (racism/discrimination in our district). But at worse, we want them to reazlie: wrong here. Not gonna happen here.”

One of the videos will be viewing a church built in the late 1800s and how a restoration is happening now, led by our community.

“The church, the reason for that project, is part of our mantra: motivate. What you see with the church, is this community of people coming together to preserve this building,” Blanchard said. “So it's this idea of community service. To motivate us for when we see these things, what can we do? How do we contribute. Most of us are average people living in an average community, but when we see things which we can engage with, how do we get involved?”

Dr. Blanchard hopes for Black History Month to be an important and not set aside, “This is an important thing to us, these stories are important, this month is important. We hope our students of color can look at this and say, ‘We’re not invisible’,” Blanchard said. “That is the reason why I'm motivated to have our student body see this is something we need to do because this happened and theres value to it.”

Make sure to keep an eye out for the series of videos coming out in the following weeks. Discuss, process, and share what you learn. These stories are us.
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