Photo by Andrew Memije
Photo by Andrew Memije

A review of UBCO’s incredible event; Hearth: Queens Conversation.

Those who missed the Kinfolk Summit’s first event, Hearth: Queens Conversation, missed a night filled with beauty, power, magic, and strength. The arts atrium was transformed into a space filled with cushions, blankets, lights and candles, and people who were there to celebrate a month that often goes overlooked. It was easily a personal favourite event of the year, and one of the most powerful, challenging, and beautiful events held at UBCO.

Overseen by International Programs and Services, and the International Development Program, the event was advertised as a “interactive, creative panel performance styled discussion”, in celebration of black history month. Members of the panel included Ashleigh Giffen, Mundia (Dia), Rebecca Tenna, Valentina Ryigimba, and Lolia Tamuno, all of whom represented as powerful women of colour. Questions ranged from discussions about genocide to navigating gender roles, and everyone joined in as those attending, and those who organized, tried to discuss these tough topics. And the conversation flowed easily in such a safe space. The women at the front, dressed in cultural clothing, shared their thoughts, and led the conversation, while the audience joined in with opinions, experiences, and stories. Some shared instances of discrimination on campus, while others discussed the importance of staying grounded and present. Some criticized the western world for its obsession with science, and others shared their belief on the importance of seeking knowledge beyond mainstream institutions; searching for cultural truth, personal truth, and the truth that we will not hear in the mainstream. One panel member summed up her frustrations in one sentence, saying, “its time for white people to step back and let Indigenous people take care of the land.”. The best part of the event, however, came from watching women and men of colour, individuals who face discrimination, racism, and all that comes with being a minority here at UBCO, thrive in a space that was totally theirs. During a small performance by the panel members, a beautiful dance, they snapped their fingers and retorted: “you don’t understand, I’m a goddess, man!”. It was an incredible thing to be witness to.

For those who want to celebrate black history month, want to learn more about the Kinfolk Summit, for those who are interested in conversations on gender roles, racism, and the like, for those who want to support the community that created this event, the Kinfolk Summit’s events are for you. The next two will be held February 22nd, and 23rd.