Posted: Wednesday, March 1, 2023. 5:26 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Following reports in other media that the Garifuna culture was being sidelined by Stann Creek Ecumenical College in a planned multicultural day to be held on Thursday, the school has hit back at what it calls “deliberate negative misrepresentation.”
At issue is a staff memo outlining plans for a multicultural day celebrating other cultures represented at the school but also including the Garinagu. Garifuna students represent 31 percent, a plurality, of the school’s population, with Kriol, Mestizo, Maya and students of other ethnicities also attending.
Principal Ray Lawrence told us this evening by telephone that the school was never contacted before publication of the offending article.
As one might expect for a school based in Dangriga, the Culture Capital, much attention is paid to Garifuna culture, especially in and around November and Garifuna Settlement Day, but also in the school’s curriculum, which teaches Garifuna history within the social sciences.
But the school contends that it teaches students about other cultures to develop respect and appreciation for diversity. It informs that in consultation with parents of students at the school there was no objection and widespread support.
The school makes apology for any hurt caused by the alleged misrepresentation of its plans and invites those concerned to work with the school on its initiatives.
The event will go ahead as planned on Thursday per Principal Lawrence, with live coverage on the school Facebook page and media participation. Garifuna elements will form part of the opening mass and ceremonies but there will be no booth displays on Garifuna culture in keeping with the multicultural theme.
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