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Black History Month at Loyalist College

By Julia Lennips [1]

BELLEVILLE – Loyalist College is preparing multiple events aimed at students for the upcoming Black History Month in February.

Loyalist Student government [2] is hosting events for Black History Month. They’ll be doing a screening of the movie Fences and providing snacks on February 6 and screening Malcolm X on February 13. On February 21, a Loyalist alumni rapper Joshua Paul will be performing.

C-Jay Stark, the Loyalist student government president, said it will be put out to make sure students are aware of these events.

She says Black History Month is important.

“You also have an understanding of cultures different than your own, so it’s important to really learn about everything that is surrounding our culture and surrounding our own campus,” she said.

The Parrot Centre Library [3] is somewhere students frequent, Jennifer Dupis, the reference and collection development technician, said they typically put up a display in February. They try to change the items they put in it from year to year.

Cindy Fort, a library technician, said she puts the displays together with the help of students.

The Canadian government set aside Black History Month hopes to teach people more about the important contributions African-Canadians have made to society. It also gets people to learn about the importance of diversity in African-Canadian communities and how it made an impact. The United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands also celebrate this event.

Pamela Houston, from the Ontario Black History Society, [4] said they help organizations to celebrate. The Ontario Black History Society is a Canadian non-profit charity, dedicated to the study, preservation, and promotion of African-Canadian history and heritage. She said that if it was in the college’s budget and interest they’d like to send a speaker to the school.

Camille Monsegue, a second-year child and youth care student at Loyalist, says she believes the school should be trying to raise awareness about Black History Month and the meaning behind it. She says it could help bring light as to why Canada’s African-Canadian history is so important.

For Monsegue, African-Canadian history is something her family values.

“I grew up with a family who was really strong on their Black History Month beliefs and why we should be grateful for where we are today,” she said.

Going around and asking other people what Black History Month means to them would be an effective way to involve the student body, says Monsegue.

Matt Murray, who is a public relations student at Loyalist, says it’s important to celebrate all the different groups that we have on the campus.

“I know we have the native resource centre. I know we’re having things like Bollywood night so, I don’t see why they wouldn’t have at least something for Black History Month as well,” he said.

He says the school should do something even though in the past the turnout for these events hasn’t been great.

In 2016, the college held a screening for a collection of TED Talks [5] on the subject of African-Canadian history. Nobody showed up, but students voiced their interest in the topic. A few of them said the college should be doing more for Black History Month [6] as it is important to learn about the history of people. The rest voiced that they didn’t know anything about Black History Month.

By Demii Niles