Helen Vangool (BA’12, BEd’14) is a public school educator in Saskatoon.

Black History Month: USask alumna brings Black history to the forefront

Helen Vangool (BA’12, BEd’14) uses her platform to educate her students and the public on Black history, every day of the year.

By Leslie-Ann Schlosser

Helen Vangool (BA’12, BEd’14) is a public school educator in Saskatoon with a passion for social justice and anti-racist education. She is of Eritrean and Ethiopian descent and owns the popular Instagram account @saskteaches where she shares research, educational material and personal experiences about being a Black woman and teacher in Saskatchewan. This account has helped to educate thousands about historical and ongoing issues in schools faced by BIPOC students and educators. 

We caught up with Vangool to ask her what Black History Month means to her:

How did your USask education support your professional goals?

"I attended university not knowing what my professional goals were. I enrolled in the College of Arts and Science and after taking several different classes, I was able to figure out that I wanted a career in the field of Education. My time at the USask allowed me to foster relationships with several different people in my field and learn more about what it takes to be a successful educator."

How do you use your voice to bring change to your community?

"I use my voice to speak out against racism and help educate people about the historical and current issues PoC face daily. I use mediums like social media, writing, and videos to share my experiences and educate the community on how to practice allyship. By speaking out and sharing my experiences I am normalizing conversations about race and when we normalize conversations about race we can start to create change."

What does Black History Month mean to you?

"To me, Black history month is a time when we celebrate Black leaders in our community and around the world. It is a time to highlight Black individuals who have, or are currently creating, positive changes in our society. It is a time to celebrate our resilience and joy.  BIPOC should be acknowledged and celebrated year round, but the month of February to me is a time to make sure we include Black histories and stories in our learning."