February marks Black History Month. It is a time to commemorate and appreciate the immense historical moments that people of African descent have contributed to the shaping of Canada, America, and around the world. Brock University aims to further commemorate and celebrate black history with events on campus, as well as within the community.
The focus of activities this year will be the contributions African women have made in history.
“Their contribution is very important,” said Jean Ntakirutimana, Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. “However, in history [these contributions] have been overlooked or forgotten, so we want to emphasize that aspect that is very often absent from the mainstream narrative.”
Through different activities and workshops, Brock University’s Black History Month events (organized and co-organized by Brock African Heritage Renaissance Group) aim to further educate the Brock community on these histories that are so often forgotten within mainstream education.
Organizers hope that everyone within the community will engage with the events and material.
“Because Brock — and Niagara in general — is overwhelmingly white, I think it’s incredibly important and necessary that students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds participate in Black History Month events,” said Lydia Collins, workshops coordinator for the Student Justice Centre (Collins is also an employee of The Brock Press). “Black history is everyone’s history. It is one that is unique and beautiful, and continues to be made every day. And it is one that should be recognized and well known for everyone.”
Some of the different events taking place throughout the month include a movie screening and panel discussion of It Takes a Riot: Simon Black’s film about the 1992 Yonge Street rebellion, taking place on February 8 in Sankey Chamber between 3:00 – 5:00 PM.
There is also a presentation called Contribution of Afro Descendent Women to the History of Humanity by Nafee N. Faigou of SOFIFRAN and Ntakirutimana on Feb. 15 from 6:30 – 8:00 PM in Sankey Chamber, a film screening and Q&A with the filmmaker Ayo Adewumi and Wilma Morrison of the movie Wilma: The Story of a Black Canadian on Feb. 17 between 2:00 – 4:00 PM at the St Catharines Public Library. Migrant labour advocates from Justicia, Jamaican farm worker from Vineland and a representative from the Jamaican Consulate film will be conducting a screening and panel discussion of Babe I’ve Got to Go, held March 1 from 6:00 – 10:00 PM at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).
The Black Women and Powers/Femmes Noires et pouvoirs: Cultural display curated by SOFIFRAN, will also be available for viewing in the James A. Gibson Library until Feb 11.
The SJC has also planned workshops like Let’s Talk About Black love on Feb. 14, both held in the Social Justice Centre, as well as a film screening and panel discussion of Black Men and the Pressure of Masculinity, held on Feb. 26, and The Kaleidoscope Experience: Exposition and Gala on Mar. 2.
These events are all available to the public as well, with organizers hoping to see a wide variety of students and community members attending.
“It’s important that students know that while learning about and appreciating Black History isn’t restricted to this month, February is a time to emphasize its importance and celebrate it,” said Collins. “It’s a time for people to learn about a history that is often neglected and untold. I’m excited to help make this the best BHM at Brock ever!”
If you would like to learn more about the different events taking place throughout the rest of the month, please visit: https://experiencebu.brocku.ca/organization/african-heritage-month