Often I tucked away interesting articles I come across thinking they are worth saving for another read later. Today, I came across one such article in the 2021 edition of an Our Canada magazine entitled A History For All. And since we celebrate Black History, it is an especially appropriate time to write about it. The article among other things, explains how the concept of The ABC’s of Canadian Black History came about.
The brainchild of Dr. Dorothy W. Williams, the kit is to help Black youth appreciate and learn about the lives and achievements of Black Canadians who are not often talked about.
Going through the alphabet, each page has a photo as well as a write-up about how that particular Black Canadian has contributed to our history. For example, R stands for Jackie Robinson – the first Black to become a professional baseball player despite segregation at the time.
There is a teacher’s text included with the kit for use in the classroom or virtually. The kit was launched in 2016 during Black History Month.
My Grounded kit which consists of a novel and a teacher’s activity book is also for teaching children virtually or in the classroom. In this case, the subject is polio, which is relevant as polio has some similarities to COVID. My kit lets children realize that other kids in the past have also had to go through similar restrictions. My kit also reminds parents and grandparents of the past. Some may still suffer from the effects of polio they had years ago. I have been told by adults who never suffered polio during their lives, that they learned a great deal about polio from my activity book, and I think you would too.
I also think The ABC’s of Canadian Black History would also be a very worthwhile and enjoyable way to learn more about how Black Canadians have added to our heritage.
With New Year’s Day now a week behind us, the noisemakers are put away, the parties over, ( if they existed) and all have expressed best wishes to friends and family that 2023 be a year of health, happiness, and reclaimed prosperity. So it seemed rather ironic and bad timing that a family member would test positive for COVID on the first day of the New Year. Alas, COVID is still skulking around, looking for its next victim to spoil the optimism that we might put COVID behind us. Or at least have more normalcy in our lives than in the past how many years.
Most of us just want to forget about COVID-19 and it’s variants, and we will as we eventually create a new normal. However, for those who have lost loved ones to COVID, it will forever be etched in their minds and hearts. For those of us who have lived through it, if anything we have learned from COVID-19, it is that we need to be more prepared for such an unexpected and serious health incident in the future.
Although many people do not know what polio is, it occurred during many of our lifetimes. And those of us who survived it well remember the devastation it caused. But it has been forgotten by many and young people have not been told about it. Which would have been an appropriate time, especially as we experienced this pandemic. We know there will be other epidemics in the future, and need to be better prepared. We need to learn from the past.
A Texan, by the name of Paul Alexander, at age six, was paralyzed from the neck down due to contracting polio and has been warning doctors that polio is going to return. Paul has done amazing things despite spending much of his life in an iron lung. For his inspiring story, look online under the title The Man in the Iron Lung, written for The Guardian by Linda Rodriguez Mc Robbie
My novel Grounded and Activity book tells the story of polio and one of the children is also in an Iron long, but he recovers. Although Paul’s, story involves a period of time when he was less dependent on the iron lung, sadly, he now is again living in an iron lung. We need to heed his warning and remember the past to be prepared for the future.