Canada celebrates Black History in February
This month, in all its glory, is Black History Month across Canada and the U.S (as the U.K and the Netherlands celebrate Black History Month in October). The celebration of Black achievements, individuals, and personhood began officially in the US in 1969, after University of Kent students and faculty proposed the idea as an improvement of the older “Negro History Week” created in 1926. In Canada, the move towards a celebratory month was enacted through a motion by politician Jean Augustine in 1995, and in 2008 the Senate officially recognized February as Black History Month.
At UBCO, Black History Month was celebrated most prominently by the Kinfolk Summit, a 3-event program that spanned from February 8th to 23rd. The Intercultural Development Program describes the Summit as following: “The Kinfolk Summit is a student led initiative within the Intercultural Development Program, which aims to foster equity and inclusion across the UBCO campus community. In collaboration with UBCSUO and the Indigenous Student’s Association, the 2018 Kinfolk Summit is about connection, decolonization and revitalization. Kinfolk is comprised of kindred spirits, allies, dream followers that transcend labels, borders and limitations. We hope to continue to contribute to the development of an equitable, intercultural and progressive community at UBCO.” The first program, “Hearth: Queens Conversation,” was written about in a previous article. The second two promised just as powerful a night. The second, held February 22nd 5:30-7:00p.m. in UNC 106 Theatre and titled “Intersectionality and (Un)conventional Identities of Blackness” was a discussion on conventional blackness, racial identity, and navigating the post-colonial landscape. The last, but not least, was held February 23rd,7:00p.m. in ADM 026. Titled “I’m Willing to Learn,” the event was a theatrical performance by the Kinfolk Nation themselves.
Although there has been criticism and consternation about Black History Month, it continues to be a vital and powerful month for all, and here at UBCO, there was no lack of culture, power, and strength in the events held.