Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Bellingham Public Schools | April 2021

Our diverse community provides opportunities to learn and celebrate with each other.

We highlight heritage and identity months in Bellingham Public Schools to recognize contributions of various groups in the United States, many who remain underrepresented in education. We honor and acknowledge diversity allowing us to explore the origins of heritage and identity.

Can you believe the month of April is already upon us? Within the fourth month of the year, we celebrate important cultural events such as Ramadan and the Qingming Festival, as well as national events such as Earth day. Let's learn together about what April brings.

A fun bright photo captures cherry blossoms in full pink bloom as the background. In a opaque circle lies the words "Hello April" in a fun pink font.

Celebrating Easter: April 4

Easter, a Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, also celebrates the defeat of death and the hope of salvation. The season leading up to Easter begins with Ash Wednesday and then Lent, a 40-day period replicating Jesus Christ's sacrifice. The week leading up to Easter is called the Holy Week. At History.com, we can learn more about Easter and an explanation of the origin of the Easter bunny.

Qingming Festival: April 4

The first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar brings us the Qingming Festival, an opportunity to honor the ancestors and welcome the spring season. Many who celebrate the festival will begin with tomb sweeping, or cleaning a gravesite to pay respect to family and ancestors. Other activies will include family time outside, having a picnic and playing. Visit National Today for a timeline leading up to and more information about the Qingming Festival.

World Health Day: April 7

World Health Day focuses attention on key public health issues that affect the entire global community. The World Health Organization (WHO) organized the 2021's learning around the theme building a fairer, healthier world. WHO is "calling on leaders to ensure that everyone has living and working conditions that are conducive to good health. At the same time we urge leaders to monitor health inequities, and to ensure that all people are able to access quality health services when and where they need them." The global pandemic continues to highlight deep inequalities in health systems, hitting already vulnerable communities the hardest.

Ramadan: April 12 - May 11

Followers of Islam celebrate Ramadan, a month commemorating Muhammad receiving the initial revelations of the Quran. During Ramadan, Muslims will fast, meaning they will not eat or drink between dawn and sunset. There are Five Pillars of Islam which create the foundation for Muslim culture. The five pillars are Sawm (fasting), Shahadah (declaration of faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity), and the Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

National Geographic describes why Ramadan is the most sacred month in Islamic culture.

Fasting can take a toll on students during Ramadan. Learning for Justice helps educators support students during this important time.

Earth Day: April 22

Fact or Fiction:

1) A decline in biodiversity will negatively impact humans, from food security to water quality.

2) Americans dump 16 tons of sewage into their waters every minute.

3) Indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to exploitation into their traditional territory in the form of land grabs and exploitation of natural resources.

4) The world is facing mass extinction of species including animals, insects, amphibians, fish, and many more.

Unfortunately, all the above are facts.

Earth Day reminds us to pause and reflect on the consequences of our actions on our ecosystem. As we honor the land, air, and water, we acknowledge that we are on Indigenous land. Indigenous peoples developed complex systems and were the stewards of this land since time immemorial. Around the planet, Indigenous peoples continue to fight to preserve and save our planet from exploitation.

Get involved in Earth Day 2021

Day of Silence April 23

Day of Silence is a campaign that seeks to shed light on what many LGBTQ youth experience daily. Annually, millions honor the day by remaining silent for one day, to represent silenced LGBTQIA+ voices. Since its creation in 1996, the practice has expanded into schools, workplaces, university campuses, and sporting events. Trying to figure out how you can participate? Check out these resources:

A plain white background with two vases of babies breath flowers on the right hand side in clear vases. The words "Monthly Minute" are in black at the top

The Monthly Minute

Greetings BPS family!

This month we are introducing The Monthly Minute, a short reflective one minute read, written by members of our community. Let's take a moment to pause and strengthen our connections to each other while the world around us continues to change.

Naomi, EDI intern

We all continue to live through these unpredictable times, fueled largely by the global pandemic as well as the highlighted tensions that divide us. An outcome of this has been a mass increase in AAPI hate. Being the daughter of a Korean immigrant seeing daily headlines about yet another instance of violence takes its toll. However, I am hopeful as we turn into April the headlines will begin to change for the better. Not just for the AAPI communities, but for our societies as a whole.

Isabel Meaker, Executive Director of Family Engagement

Every Wednesday during the month of March, we have been able to get together with a group of fifteen Latinx parents for our first ever Parent Leadership Academy! We, as a district, have learned so much from them - the collective funds of knowledge this group possesses has been inspiring to witness. What a great surprise and gift it has been to be able to create this great connection, even in the midst of the challenges of COVID. The parents learned about the school system, did a deep dive into the Bellingham Promise and are now ready to advocate for their students, as well as to provide support to other families. Their resiliency to embrace a very different education system while dealing with language, culture and technology barriers is inspiring and we look forward to the work this amazing group of leaders will accomplish in the future.

Free Virtual Learning Opportunities

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Calendar

We are currently updating an EDI calendar to bring forth a comprehensive monthly listing for our BPS community. This calendar will include the important cultural holidays listed in the newsletters & more. Free training opportunities, events, and other important commemorations will be laid out each month, so be sure to check back often!
A fun bright photo with plants in vases, blue flowers are in the main planter with a small sign below reading "hello april"

Partnering with families, Bellingham Public Schools will develop a space for sharing and celebration. Families are invited to submit suggestions, videos, photos, and descriptions of celebrations and stories to janis.velasquezfarmer@bellinghamschools.org. Check the EDI blog for community responses.

Each month, we will highlight nationally recognized heritage months and other days of identity, celebration, and remembrance with narratives, links to local events, good reads, exhibits and more.

Policies and practices

Depending on the holiday, family traditions and beliefs, some students or staff may miss school or class to observe a holiday. Please refence Policy 3122 and Policy 5409.

  • Holidays may have an element of fasting and/or late-night events. We ask staff to make reasonable accommodations to support staff and colleagues.
  • We also ask staff and PTAs, including coaches/advisors to try to avoid high holidays for events and exams, whenever possible, in accordance with 2340P.
The Bellingham public schools collective logo in blue and red