bhm-logo

The University of Lethbridge celebrates Black History Month:
Building a Culture of Authentic Inclusion: Moving from resistance to change

Black History Month is a celebration of the achievements and contributions of not only Black Canadians but also persons of Black, Caribbean or African Heritage. Every February, we recognize the contributions of Black people and Black communities, highlighting their significant and ongoing role in shaping Canada’s identity.

Black History Month celebrates the resiliency, flourishing, and determination to work towards a more equitable, inclusive and diverse country.

 

ULethbridge celebrates Black History Month: Building a Culture of Authentic Inclusion: Moving from resistance to change
 

On November 18, 2021, the University of Lethbridge joined 40 universities from across Canada to endorse the Scarborough Charter — a commitment to eliminating anti-Black racism and advancing Black inclusion in Canadian higher education. In endorsing the charter, ULethbridge took a step forward in addressing social injustices of historically excluding marginalized voices by beginning its journey to creating a safe space for all.

Creating a safe and inclusive space consists of providing our students, staff and faculty the opportunity to not only celebrate but to honour a key part of our history.

On February 1, 2023, the University of Lethbridge will continue this work by celebrating Black History Month under the theme — Building a Culture of Authentic Inclusion: Moving from resistance to change. The month of February marks a historical moment of celebration for all Black people from Canadian, Caribbean and African Diaspora who have enriched our societies culturally, socially, politically and economically. By celebrating Black history, our University is creating another opportunity for brave conversations.

“By celebrating Black History Month, we as a community come together to learn and celebrate the numerous contributions that have been made by our Black students, staff and faculty at the University of Lethbridge,” says Dr. Mike Mahon, president and vice-chancellor. “It is also about being intentional how we make our campus truly a place where we belong.”

Vice Provost of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Martha Mathurin-Moe, adds the month of February presents one opportunity to learn more about Black history; however, we must continue our journey to fostering inclusive spaces for all. This year’s theme is really focused on creating an authentic sense of belonging.

“It is merely a starting point in recognizing the resilience and numerous contributions Black people continue to make to our communities, countries, and the world,” says Mathurin-Moe. “For this year’s celebration of Black History month, I encourage everyone, even after the month is over, to continue learning about the many scholars, innovators, cultural icons and activists who are pillars of Black Excellence and Black Joy in Canada and throughout the world. As we continue on our journey to build an inclusive campus and to celebrate the monumental positive impact of Black people on our society, join us for the opening ceremony of Black History Month on February 1, 2023, at 11 a.m. in the Science Commons Atrium.”

Learn more about Black History Month and why it is celebrated. 

 

The presence, history and contributions of Black Canadians and their communities have not always been acknowledged or celebrated in all parts of Canada. Therefore, it is crucial to dedicate specific efforts to not only recognize but to learn about the contributions Black Canadians made in establishing the country and society we all know today.

There are several background events to the Black History Month celebration. However, it was not until February 2008 when Senator Donald Oliver, the first Black man appointed to the Canadian Senate, introduced the Motion to Recognize Contributions of Black Canadians and February as Black History Month that it became a nation-wide celebration. Although Black History Month is celebrated in February, it is important to honour the contributions of Black Canadians and Black communities throughout the year.

 

 

Celebrating Black History Month is another step forward towards advancing equity, diversity and Black inclusion at the University of Lethbridge. On November 18, 2021, ULethbridge joined more than 40 universities and colleges from across Canada in signing the Scarborough Charter, a commitment to eliminating anti-Black racism and advancing Black inclusion in Canadian higher education.

“The Scarborough Charter represents one of the ongoing commitments and a call to action from Canadian higher education institutions to do the hard work ahead to repair and reconcile their role in historically excluding marginalized groups,” said Dr. Mike Mahon, president and vice-chancellor. “By signing the Charter, the University is committed to doing our ethical part in addressing these social injustices and to creating safe, inclusive spaces for all.”

Black History Month is about taking the time to not only honour and celebrate but to acknowledge, to remember, to listen and to create brave spaces for the voices of Black students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members to be heard. The events of 2020 were an important catalyst propelling anti-blackness into the social discourse. We cannot stop the conversations – they must continue.

 

Inclusion goes beyond being invited to the decision-making table, it is about being psychologically safe to share ideas, it is about seeing one’s stories or experiences and contributions recognized in meaningful ways. This year's event will not only focus on the work that has been achieved as an institution to create more opportunities to include the stories, and experiences of Black and Brown students, faculty, and Staff across campus but we will also learn from a Black student about their experience as a University of Lethbridge student, experiences of Black Scholars in build Inclusive leadership and also explore the current trends of EDI with the post-secondary context.

At this year's opening event, the Equity Diversity and Inclusion team will provide an overview of its current work and its alignment to meeting the mandate of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-blackness and Black Inclusion which was signed in November 2021.

For information about this year’s event, click here.

 

Becoming an ally is a lifelong process, primarily a learning process! The first step we can take is to be curious and inform ourselves about the realities faced by Black Canadians and their communities, as well as their contributions to Canada. An ally does not remain silent when witnessing racism, discrimination, or oppression. As allies, we can also act in solidarity with individuals, groups and organizations actively engaged in anti-racism and anti-discrimination work, through volunteer work, donations or simply attending their events or helping propagate their message.

 

Events and Stories

Tommy Awoderu - Pronghorn Track & Field

"It’s a month that celebrates the excellence, success, and achievement of Black people."

Read more

Alumna Kennedy Greene (BFA ’13) is on the right path with her career in stage management

Working in theatre was not always part of University of Lethbridge alumna Kennedy Greene’s (BFA ’13) career plan, but it did become her calling.

Read more

Deng Dak - Pronghorn Basketball

"It’s means a lot. It’s a month where I can actually sit and reflect on the trials and tribulations that people that look just like me went through."

Read more