Kattawe Henry says mental health in relation to Blackness and Black communities is something people don’t speak enough about.
It’s one of the reasons the Human Rights and Anti-Racism Advisor has organized several mental health-focused events at Brock University in recognition of African Heritage Month / Black History Month (AHM/BHM).
“Mental health for all people is underrepresented, and when addressing the needs of Black people and how mental health dialogues play out in our communities, it is underrepresented even more so,” she said. “Mental health discourse fails to recognize that racism itself creates issues of mental health and wellness — and ignoring this is a racist practice.”
To help address these concerns, Henry has planned engaging and community-building activities centred around mental health within the Black community. They will take place in February and continue beyond the annual awareness month into the spring.
“One of the downsides of having ‘months’ to recognize people or communities is that people begin to feel that events should only belong in the month in which a celebration is taking place,” she said. “It’s important that we continue to learn about Blackness, Black people and Black history in the other 11 months of the year as well. Recognizing that we are currently in the International Decade of People of African Descent (2015-2024), we know that now is an important time to engage in these conversations year-round.”
Events Henry is leading include the What IS going on? discussion group for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) students; the Black Social Dinner; and Black and Proud discussion panels.
Several departments across the University are also hosting their own events in recognition of AHM/BHM.
Brock University’s Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (MLLC) and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Cultures present two exhibitions at Brock’s main campus Saturday, Feb. 1 to Saturday, Feb. 29.
“Imprints and Memories: SOFIFRAN, 13 years in pictures of Francophone community engagement” will be hosted in the MLLC’s Museum in the Hallway at the 200-level of Mackenzie Chown Complex Block A.
“Imprints and Memoires: Festiv’Ébène, 13 years of francophone festival in Niagara” will be on display in the Matheson Learning Commons.
What IS going on? discussion group
A new discussion group for BIPOC students, What IS going on?, launches Tuesday, Feb. 4. Students will share experiences of being BIPOC and the racism they encounter on and off-campus. Feedback from discussions will inform future University resources and programming. What IS going on? discussions are planned for several upcoming Tuesdays from 3 to 4:40 p.m. in WH8G: Feb. 4, Feb. 24, March 17 and April 7. To register, email Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sexual Violence Support Certificate
Upcoming Sexual Violence Support Certificate classes focus on BIPOC Perspectives on Thursday, Feb. 4 from noon to 1 p.m. in ST 108; Trauma and Self-Care for BIPOC Communities on Thursday, Feb. 6 from 5 to 6 p.m. in ST 105; and Thursday, Feb. 25 from noon to 1 p.m. in ST 108. To register for the workshops, visit Human Rights and Equity’s listing of events on ExperienceBU.
Textes et textiles cultural workshop
Presented by the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, the Textes et textiles cultural workshop by Nafée Faïgou of SOFIFRAN (Solidarité des femmes et familles interconnectées francophones du Niagara) will take place Thursday, Feb. 6 from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in STH 201.
Francophone book fair
Niagara’s first francophone book fair, Salon du livre du Niagara, will take place Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Books will include theatre, poetry, essays, memories and comic strips. The event will feature conferences, workshops, live readings and sessions on music and painting.
Black Social Dinner
The Black Social Dinner is set to take place Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. in Isaac’s Bar and Grill. The event is open exclusively to BIPOC students, staff and faculty, and will feature culturally relative dishes from a Black-owned business, including jollof rice, fried rice and plantain. Trivia, games and a Jamaican patty sale will also take place. Frozen patties from Allan’s Pastries will be sold for $2.50 each or five for $11.50 (Cash only). Free tickets for the Black Social Dinner can be reserved on Eventbrite. Questions and accessibility requirements can be directed to Kattawe Henry at email@example.com or 905-688-5550 x6193.
Hidden Figures film screening
On Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in Alan Earp Residence Community Fireplace, the Human Rights and Equity Film Series is screening Hidden Figures, an inspirational true story about three women of colour who are engineers and mathematicians working at NASA in 1961. Register on ExperienceBU.
BIPOC/QTPOC boxing classes
Two upcoming free boxing classes welcome people who identify as BIPOC/QTPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour / Queer, Trans, People of Colour). Organized by Human Rights and Equity, the classes take place Wednesday, Feb. 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Walker Sports Complex Fitness Studio. To register for the workshops, visit Human Rights and Equity’s listing of events on ExperienceBU. Questions and accessibility requirements can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Black and Proud panel
A Black and Proud panel planned for Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Sankey Chamber will involve students speaking on mental health and blackness. A second Black and Proud panel on Thursday, March 12, at the same time and location as the first, will feature practitioners and activists speaking on mental health in the Black community.
More information on each event will be available on experiencebu.brocku.ca in the coming days.
To add an event to this list, please email email@example.com