The Diversity Office at Durham College has planned another Professional and Mentorship Day as part of events to celebrate Black History Month. It will be held Wed. Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in gyms 3 and 4 at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre (CRWC). This is the third year for the event and lunch is provided.
“It’s pretty much a day where we have students, all our students here on campus, as well as students from area high schools Grades 11 and 12 come in, then we have professionals from the black community and they come in and talk to students about their academic and their career journeys,” said Allison Hector-Alexander, Durham College Diversity Officer, when explaining what students could expect.
Students ask questions like “How did you get into this field? What was their time at college or university like? Do they enjoy their work?” she said. “They get a chance to talk one-on-one with those industry professionals.”
Honouring past and present black Canadians will have us celebrating all February long when Black History Month begins.
With such diversity on campus, it seems only natural for us to take part in learning and celebrating all the cultures and values around us.
Diversity officer, Allison Hector-Alexander explains that the Diversity office, along with the Student Association and Women’s Centre, have teamed up to bring awareness to the contributions of black Canadians.
The annual celebrations start on Feb. 15, with a Professional and Mentorship Development day. Running from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Hector-Alexander says students are more than welcome to swing by even if they cannot make it for the entire event.
“We’re hoping we will have more students attending the events this year than last year but again it’s looking to be a success.”
Event posters are displayed around campus
The next lineup of events follows the day after with a black history mix and mingle. The event, which was held at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery last year, will now take place at UOIT’s downtown campus. The event starts at 6 p.m. and students can register with Allison at her office on the second floor of the new Student Services building or reach her at 905 721 2000 ext. 2856.
“Empowering the next generation of Canadian builders” is this year’s Black History Month theme and Hector-Alexander is optimistic that people will take notice and take part.
“In terms of the community, staff and administration involvement, we’ve had a lot of people connect with us. People are asking, “Are you having this event again this year?””
Hector-Alexander is continuing to work with community organizations to see what other types of events could work with our campus for the coming month.
Click below to hear Allison speak on the above events.
February is the month to take it back in time and remember those who fought for the freedom of black people and to remember those whose inventions made a safer path for many countries.
I myself have been falling off the celebration and it makes me wonder, is everyone else?
Everyday I remember the dream of Martin Luther King. I remember Rosa Parks sitting on the bus. I remember Harriett Tubman crossing the Underground Railroad. Every time I look at the stoplights I remember Garrett A. Morgan. He invented the first automatic, three-position traffic light. Every morning as I struggle to straighten the mop on my head I remember Madame CJ Walker. She invented the first hot comb.
In the video below A’Lelia Bundles, the great-great granddaughter of Madam CJ Walker, talks about her invention and how the idea came to her.
I admit I haven’t been keeping up with the events and celebrations of February and out of the ten students I have spoken to about the topic, only two are actively involved in events to honour their ancestors.
Some students believe the honouring of our ancestors is taking a back seat to the over-rated Valentine’s day. Others think it’s more celebrated or discussed in the U.S. because that was the forefront of slavery.
Angella Edwards, a Business student at Durham College, says her high school got rid of black history month celebrations and lessons all together because they didn’t have a Chinese history month, an Indian history month or white history month.
Now that’s where the decline in celebration comes from. No wonder young people don’t seem to care much about it.
Don’t get me wrong. There are events happening throughout Toronto and Canada to honour Black history. But within the young community it is slowly dying. I remember being a part of multiple performances in high school and while on stage I watched as the audience talked and laughed amongst themselves. People would yawn and sleep as a way to show how much they really care. And to add to the insult these were young black students who themselves needed to learn a little bit about their history.
People go to clubs to celebrate but are they really thinking about their history or just the drinks, music and hook ups? I think half of them aren’t going for the history.
While there isn’t much acknowledgment about Black History Month amongst the younger generation, it’s safe to say at least the older generation is trying to reach out and keep the tradition going. Besides, most of our everyday items do have a little black history if you ask me.