A celebration of African heritage and Black history will begin at Brock University on Tuesday, Feb. 1.
To mark Black History Month/African Heritage Month (AHM/BHM), a variety of virtual programming has been planned for the Brock community.
With more than 10 events scheduled, ranging from panels about Black history in academia to cultural workshops about Black hair and beauty, Brock’s Anti-Racism and Inclusion Advisor Eve Nyambiya said there’s something for everyone.
“We want to create a combination of education and awareness, because Blackness and African heritage deserves to be celebrated,” she said. “Certain events will allow everyone to come together to learn about the Black and African experience, while others will create a safe space for Black students, staff and faculty to share their unfiltered thoughts and reflections on their Black experience.”
Nyambiya said there is a “dedicated community of students, staff and faculty members that have been leading the charge for systemic changes on campus for years.”
“I think it is important to recognize their ongoing work and celebrate new developments in February onwards.”
In addition to activities planned by Nyambiya and Brock’s Human Rights and Equity (HRE) team, events are also being organized by the Black Students’ Association (BLSA), which aims to create a voice for Black students and other equity seeking/deserving groups and to shine a light on demographics that feel out of place or misrepresented at Brock.
BLSA President Jason Ineh said the group was created to respond to issues of social injustice and discrimination in society.
“We believe that creating the BLSA allows for a more inclusive and welcoming environment for Black students and other equity-deserving students at Brock, while also interconnecting and emphasizing the diversity that Brock takes pride in,” he said.
Among the events the BLSA is hosting are those focusing on mental health as well as connecting the community with local Black-owned businesses, both topics which Ineh said will serve to educate against negative stereotypes.
“As the BLSA encompasses the diversity in the Black diaspora at Brock, it is extremely important for students and the public alike to be involved in the educative events that we are creating to eliminate the negative stereotypes that people in society may still face today,” he said.
Interim Brock President Lynn Wells said the University will actively engage in African Heritage Month/Black History Month and maintain those values and lessons learned year-round.
“As we learn together during Black History Month and throughout the year, Brock strives to be a welcoming university that celebrates the many academic and community contributions of the diverse faculty, staff and students who enrich our campus,” she said. “We have taken significant steps in recent years to support Black members of our community, including the creation of the Horizon Graduate Student Scholarships, all the while realizing that there is much more work we can and will do in the coming years.”
While Nyambiya continues to organize the celebration’s events calendar, which also includes options for independent study through book collections and displays curated by the Brock University Library, she said that through all of the diverse programming, one goal remains at the heart of the celebrations.
“Uplift, recognize and support the work being undertaken by our fellow Black colleagues,” she said.
A developing list of events at Brock University and in the local community can be found on the HRE website.