Samuel Getachew, the unofficial ambassador of Ethiopia to Toronto, spoke to classes on the topics of equality and the importance of Black History Month. Photo: Henry He

On the morning of 11 February, the Grade 12 International Business and Financial Security classes listened to a motivational talk by guest speaker Samuel Getachew in honour of Black History Month.

Samuel, who grew up in Ethiopia, is an entrepreneur, political activist and journalist. He regularly contributes to publications such as TZTA, Diversity Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He was the recipient of the City of Toronto’s William P. Hubbard Award for Equity and Human Rights in 2013 and was named the Toronto Star’s ‘Person to Watch’ in 2014.

He spoke to the students about his work in Canadian politics and how his cultural background makes him stand out in the political landscape. The classes had an engaging discussion on equality as an ideal that we strive for and a reality that becomes closer as we continue to push for it.

Students found Mr. Getachew’s talk genuine and impactful. “One sentence that really resonated with me was ‘My citizenship is as powerful as Steven Harper’s,'” said Neerajen Sritharan, a student in Mr. Barrington’s Financial Securities class. “It brings a great perspective on how empowered we all have the potential to be.”

The sense of inspiration came from both his stories and his personal achievements. “He is not only passionate about his work, but he also knows what he is talking about, and is prepared to put in a lot of effort in order to realize his vision. I respect him for standing up for his beliefs rather than for a political agenda,” said Henry He, another Grade 12 student.

Black History month is being celebrated this February. It is important for students to learn, honour and celebrate achievements made by black men and women, as well as to recognize the power of diversity.