DOWNINGTOWN, PA — Throughout the school year Downingtown Area School District (DASD) has made a concerted effort to celebrate many of our nation’s month-long observances. DASD students and staff have greatly benefited from programming, initiatives and events, all in an effort to bring the community together. Once again, DASD is looking forward to the upcoming, district-wide programs and celebrations that are in store.
This month, DASD will celebrate the incredible contributions that Jewish Americans (JA) and Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals have made, not only domestically, but also abroad. Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Justin Brown, notes the significance of these observations. “The history of our nation and its people deserve our recognition and attention. It is our pleasure to make sure that every student feels seen and validated.”
In 1992, New York Congressman Frank Horton helped pass legislation that designated May as the commemorative month in support of AAPI Heritage Month. For Jewish Americans, Former President George W. Bush announced in April 2006 that May would be recognized as Jewish American Heritage Month. “The stories and achievements of both Jewish American and Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders are inspiring. The resilience, determination and contributions are certainly essential to the American story and the progression of the U.S.A.,” said Brown.
Shannon Shih, a teacher at the STEM academy, is looking forward to the month’s celebrations, stating, “Nowadays, too often do people seek out differences rather than similarities. With the help of this committee and the director, Mr. Brown, I hope that our community can become more united and inclusive when it comes to AAPI members and experiences.”
This year, DASD will host Holocaust survivor, Daniel Goldsmith, who will share his experiences in hiding during World War II. His program will be held on Tuesday, May 24 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. Community members are invited to visit the district website to sign up to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime conversation.
DASD is a district that has always been committed to Shoah education as an integral piece of the high school experience, holding an annual Holocaust Symposium to share the stories of survivors to ensure the next generation never forgets. DASD’s celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month represents a real opportunity to further the conversation of creating more equitable and inclusive institutions.
Throughout the month of May, DASD students and staff will participate in a variety of activities celebrating the unique experiences and successes of individuals who identify as AAPI or Jewish, including an array of interdisciplinary lessons and literary connections honoring the depth and breadth of prominent figures. Additionally, DASD staff and students will create video reflections celebrating barrier-breakers and history-makers from past and present.
While DASD schools continue to celebrate JA and AAPI Heritage Month throughout May, there are numerous community activities scheduled within the greater Downingtown Area. Please check your local listings for events and programming. To learn more about DASD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program, and to see examples of its program in action, please visit www.dasd.org/diversity.
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