Algonquin’s recognition and awareness for Black History Month has been embarrassing.
Five years ago, throughout the college in February, week-long events would span the month, highlighting different black cultures each day. They showcased various aspects of black culture and heritage from all over. Events included poetry, singing, dancing, art and students sharing parts of their own heritage.
Fast-forward to today and you wouldn’t know if it was Black History Month unless you checked your calendar and it was shown through the lack of student participation.
Whenever there are events going on at the college all it would take would be a quick glance at one of the many bulletin boards around the campus and you could easily see when, where and what the event is. The only way you can find information about any of the Black History Month events are by heading over to the Students’ Association website.
Little to no posters provide information about any of the events and most of the events are planned in the second half of February.
Out of the six events that the Black History Month committee has planned, two of them are movies which don’t qualify as events. Anybody can turn on a movie at home, but physically being at an event where you can learn something new and educate yourself is much more valuable.
Why do we have a committee dedicated to promoting and planning events specifically for Black History Month when they are not doing a great job at celebrating the culture?
“Would’ve loved to have more time to promote. Make everyone know about it and create awareness before February,” said Allison Barnes which recently took the position of events programmer for the SA.
Last year, there was only one day of events which were not planned by the SA. The African and Caribbean multicultural club took it upon themselves to plan out a day to honour Black History Month because of the disappointment they saw in the lack of respect shown by the college.
Algonquin should be more sensitive to this issue because of how culturally diverse the student population is.
Somewhere along the way we have lost our sense of community.
Canada celebrates this month-long holiday for a reason and it’s to remember the important contributions and achievements of black Canadians throughout our nation’s history.
Algonquin needs to do their part in celebrating our history as well and with lacklustre promotion and minimal events, we are not doing a good job in commemorating our culturally diverse student body.
If we put 20 per cent of the effort we had promoting the Olympics this year into promoting Black History Month, it would be a step in the right direction into laying down the foundation in building a community within our college.