Black History Month initiatives to focus on collaboration, education

Black history and African heritage will be celebrated at Brock with collaborative events held throughout February.

Beginning Wednesday, Feb. 1 with a 10 a.m. kickoff event in the Rankin Family Pavilion, Black History Month/African Heritage Month will feature programming from across the Brock community.

This year’s events and resources include a BIPOC social, a featured collection in the library of Black Canadian Scholars, varsity sports fundraisers for Brock’s Black/Indigenous Heritage Student-Athlete Bursary, showcases of Faculty projects in Applied Health Sciences and Humanities and much more.

Shaka Licorish, Anti-Racism and Inclusion Advisor in the University’s Human Rights and Equity (HRE) office, said the month is an intentional cross-collaborative campus-wide effort led by HRE and centred around reinforcing the importance of the core idea ‘nothing about us without us.’

“Black History Month/African Heritage Month at Brock should always endeavour to engage, elevate and celebrate the ongoing, year-round contributions, commitments and sacrifices of the University’s Black and African communities,” he said. “We cannot do that effectively nor mindfully without the intentional involvement and participation of the University’s Black and African students, staff and faculty when it comes to issues that directly affect their experience on campus and across the surrounding Niagara region.”

To directly engage with the University’s Black students, HRE will host three focus groups to discuss Black student success, Black student-athlete leadership and representation, and Black residence life.

There will also be student-led initiatives, including the Brock University Students’ Union’s Neon Karaoke Night, hosted in conjunction with the Sudanese Students’ Association, and an array of events from the Black Students’ Association (BLSA).

Through events that include panel discussions with Black leaders, poetry/art nights, and mental health discussions, BLSA President Jason Ineh said the group hopes to inspire change and raise awareness of the Black diaspora’s history and the Black community’s current successes.

“The goal of the events is to educate the larger student body and community about the current and past contributions of prominent Black figures, address current issues confronting the Black community, and promote diversity and inclusion amongst all by educating all who are willing,” he said.

Brad Clarke, Brock’s Associate Vice-President, Students, and Interim Associate Vice-President, Equity, said the month is also reflective of the University’s continuing commitment to foster a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization.

“Black History Month provides an opportunity to celebrate the many achievements and successes of the Black community at Brock — students, staff, faculty and alumni — and to honour the significant and rich Black history of the Niagara region,” he said. “My thanks to the many campus departments and student leaders who have contributed to the variety of Black History Month events and activities that will take place in the coming weeks. These opportunities for shared learning and growth strengthen our connections and reflect Brock University’s ongoing efforts to support Black members of our community; and our commitments as a signatory to the Scarborough Charter.”

To learn more about Black History Month/African Heritage Month and to view a developing list of events at Brock and in the local community, visit ExperienceBU.

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