Black History Month part of year-round efforts at Brock

Monday, Feb. 1 marks the start of African Heritage Month / Black History Month (AHM/BHM), but Brock University has made a point of keeping the conversations and actions going year-round.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t allow for the traditional on-campus and in-person events, Brock will recognize AHM/BHM virtually this month while continuing its year-round commitment to foster a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization.

Human Rights and Anti-Racism Advisor Kattawe Henry says the ongoing conversations this month can inspire every corner of the Brock community and are a key component of promoting positive change.

“It is essential that we continue conversations around Blackness, racism, anti-Blackness and equity at all times,” says Henry. “Given the amazing activism that has been taken up in recent years around Black Lives Matter, anti-racism and systemic oppression, we need to ensure that we have a commitment to our Black community at Brock.”

That commitment can be seen in a wide variety of ways such as Brock’s participation in the Onyx initiative, in which five Brock students will participate in the first cohort; an effort by Human Rights and Equity (HRE) and the Faith and Life Centre to spotlight 20 Black Canadians during the month of February; and HRE-led initiatives presenting on issues around Black mental health.

Having already hosted a Black Town Hall in January, Henry says the pandemic will not stop HRE from delivering the informative and thought-provoking programming it is known for.

“Programming looks different in a virtual world, and ideas of community are even more important,” she says “This year, we have some opportunities for folks to win some great prizes, engage with games and online socializing, music, TV, movies for our students, and more.”

Themes this year include mental health, dating and living in white spaces, and Henry hopes all members of the Brock community will visit the Brock Student Justice Centre and Human Rights and Equity Instagram accounts to learn more about specific dates, times and streaming platforms.

With another Black Town Hall in the works and the recognition of Brock’s first cohort of Horizon Scholarship recipients taking place later this week, Brock President Gervan Fearon says the University will continue to make the goals of AHM/BHM a priority.

“Brock University is working hard to build an inclusive, equitable and welcoming community. That’s a core principle at the foundation of what we do,” said Fearon. “We are proud to continually introduce initiatives that support the diverse student, staff and faculty community at Brock University and across Canada, especially as we celebrate Black History Month.”

A developing list of AHM/BHM events at Brock University can be found below:

Black Reading Group
Monday, Feb. 1 (launch date)
A safe space for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) students to discuss powerful novels by renowned Black authors. If accepted into the group, all books are provided.
To apply, email with the subject line ‘reading group.’ Provide your name and program in the email.
Note: This event is open to BIPOC students only.
Learn more on ExperienceBU.

BIPOC Gender and Sexual Violence Workshop
Tuesday, Feb. 2 from noon to 1 p.m.
Join us for a 1.5-hour workshop about BIPOC perspectives, gender and sexual violence. This workshop involves two components: A 30-minute Sakai online module to learn about gender-based violence and sexual violence support in BIPOC communities, and a one-hour Microsoft Teams seminar to discuss what was learned on Sakai and to engage in experiential activities.
Learn more on ExperienceBU.

Black History is Now — with Kattawe Henry
Every Friday (Friday, Feb. 5 to Friday, March 5) from noon to 12:30 p.m.
Games facts and that Black Girl Magic. Visit @brockhre on Instagram for a chance to chat, win prizes and learn something new. Featuring guest appearances from dynamic Black Brock faculty, staff and students.
Learn more on ExperienceBU.

Black TV Talks
Every Wednesday (Wednesday, Feb. 10 to Wednesday, March 3) from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Relax and enjoy some of the most iconic Black television shows from the ’90s and 2000s. Featuring after-show group discussion on race, TV and the importance of Black representation. A Netflix account is required to watch the shows. Anyone without a Netflix account is asked to email with the subject line “Netflix rental.”
Learn more on ExperienceBU.

Black Excellence Talent Contest
Wednesday, Feb. 10 to Wednesday, March 3.
Black students, staff and faculty members are invited to virtually submit their videos, audio recordings, poems, short stories and other artistic creations for a chance to win prizes in the Black Excellence Talent Contest. Submissions can be made on the Black Excellence Talent Contest Google Doc, where they will be placed in either the Performative category (for video and audio recordings of no longer than four minutes) or the Visual Art category (for original photography, artwork, and written content, such as short stories or poems, that is no longer than 350 words).
Learn more on ExperienceBU

Virtual Black Social
Thursday, Feb. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Connect with vibrant Black student, staff and community members at Brock University during the annual Black Social.
Enjoy fun games and win amazing prizes, all while building meaningful social, academic and cultural networks. The event will also feature a live performance from local recording artist and winner of The Shot, Season Seven, Jasmine Whyte.
Note: This event is for Black students, staff and faculty only.
Learn more on ExperienceBU.

Black Minds Matter
Thursday, March 4 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Join author, international speaker and Registered Psychotherapist Julie Christiansen for a powerful presentation on the importance of Black mental health both on and off campus. The talk will be followed by a Black student-only skill-building workshop around how young adults can develop Black mental health toolkits to survive university.
Learn more on ExperienceBU.

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