Last month, a 13-year-old black girl from Amesbury Middle School was prevented from attending class by her principle because she was wearing her natural hair, which the principal called “poofy and unprofessional.”
The black Toronto community was outraged and came together outside the Toronto District School Board Headquarters last Friday, to rally for this little girl. This rally was planned by the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter, and a crowd of about 100 people (mostly black women) attended with their Afros picked out and their box braids unrestrained.
The purpose of the rally was to take up space as black people and to hold the TDSB accountable for the actions perpetrated against this little girl, whose mother, Teresa Sutherland, has chosen to keep her daughter’s identity anonymous.
Toronto District School Board Trustee Tiffany Ford, who is black, tweeted a statement last Thursday regarding “the Amesbury School incident” in which she said she would “not be silent on an issue that affects most black women: the subject of hair.”
In her tweet, Ford said:
“Society’s obsession with hair, particularly women’s hair and more specifically Black women’s hair, represents a larger issue of objectifying and policing women’s bodies.
“We must create change where our children will see a deeper value in character, education, cultural pride and in their academic excellence as opposed to having to worry or anticipate rejection, humiliation and judging of their bodies by peers and worst yet by adults they trust.