Black history, African heritage the focus of month-long celebration

Events and activities throughout February will celebrate Black History Month/African Heritage Month (BHM/AHM) at Brock University.

The programming offers a range of experiences to all who are interested and features a particular focus on the theme of intersectionality, which examines overlapping and intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination and discrimination.

On Thursday, Feb. 1, BHM/AHM will kick off with a launch event focused on the month’s significance and highlighting opportunities for learning and involvement. Held at 10:30 a.m. in Rankin Family Pavilion, all are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Among the more than 40 events planned throughout the month will be a panel on “Redressing Anti-Black Racism,” a film series about Black experiences in Canada, a day of collaboration with the Sport Management Department, and a vendor showcase hosted by the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) every Tuesday and Thursday, during which all Brock students will receive a free $10 voucher to use towards their purchase.

Shaka Licorish, Anti-Racism and Inclusion Advisor in Brock’s Human Rights and Equity (HRE) office, said the programming has been thoughtfully developed to “engage a diverse population on Brock’s campus and to welcome everyone.”

“Recognizing the importance of creating meaningful spaces where the accomplishments, experiences and triumphs of those who identify as Black, African and/or Caribbean serves as the focal point,” he said. “We look forward to welcoming all who have an interest in participating, learning and furthering their understandings of the intersectional Black experience.”

Aishah Sonekan, Research Assistant in the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, said participants from across campus and beyond stepped up to contribute their ideas for the month.

“All of the events and initiatives featured in the BHM/AHM schedule are a product of a passionate and dedicated group of individuals across the Brock campus who joined countless working group meetings co-chaired by me and Shaka,” she said.

One of the partner groups involved in organizing programming is the University’s Black Students’ Association (BLSA), which is hosting a student social as well as partnering with HRE and the Black Student Success Centre (BSSC) to host a talk on Black mental health.

BLSA Vice-President Ivie Omoregie said the BSSC has enhanced academic advising resources for Black students and provides a dedicated space for open discussions on relevant issues throughout the year.

“The establishment of the Black Student Success Centre addresses critical needs and also serves as a testament to Brock University’s dedication to fostering a sense of belonging and community,” she said.

BLSA President Joseph Brobbey said collaborative partnerships, like organizing events with the BSSC and HRE, aim to empower and enable students in many forms, offering numerous platforms for community building and personal or professional development.

“We hope to enrich the minds of the students during BHM/AHM to remind Black students of their strengths and the obstacles they’ve overcome, as well as fostering a positive sense of community and harmony,” he said.

As the month of celebration and collaboration approaches, Chelsea Takalo, Brock’s Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, said it is imperative that Brock continues to demonstrate its commitment to dismantling anti-Black racism and to promoting Black excellence and flourishing.

“Black History Month/African Heritage Month gives the Brock community an opportunity to begin 2024 by demonstrating their support and commitment to anti-racism work,” she said.

A developing list of events and information can be found on the Black History Month/African Heritage Month Events ExperienceBU page.

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