Black History Month 2021

In support of the Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) and the Guelph Black Students’ Association (GBSA), the University of Guelph’s Cultural Diversity Office (CDO) within the Department of Student Experience will celebrate Black History Month 2021 with a focus on Black Heritage. This initiative was proposed by the GBHS president Denise Francis.

In 2020, Black activists, scholars and community members called on everyone to recognize and address ongoing anti-Black racism in Canada. From the Black Lives Matter movement to the fight of the End SARS movement, and every battle in between, Black Canadians have continued to show power, pride, and strength. Black social justice advocates have put anti-Black racism at the forefront of society’s consciousness with grace and determination, and have proven, time and again, the strength of our community.

Without losing sight of our history, we hope this year to focus our February programming and conversations on the experiences and contributions of Black Canadians today and beyond. The Black Canadian experience is tied to our heritage and to our ongoing efforts toward racial justice. We hope you will join us in celebrating Black History Month and learning through the GBHS, GBSA, and CDO’s February 2021 Black Heritage Month programming.

Monday, February 1st, 6-7:30 pm: Aftershock Art Display

Aftershock is an art show showcasing the creations of aspiring young artists (25 and below). The Art Show will feature digital art including photography, short films, animation, digital painting, vector drawing, photo painting and any other type of artistic media created on a computer. Selected artists will have their contributions displayed in an online gallery throughout the month of February. This event is open to everyone.

Thursday, February 4th, 6-7:30 pm: Black Leadership in Anti-Black Spaces with Laura Mae Lindo 

James Baldwin once wrote: “To be a negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” His words continue to ring true. As we navigate a global pandemic that disproportionately impacts Black communities across the province, we are asked to justify our calls for culturally responsive resources. We are told that we do not have sufficient proof that our bodies are those primarily on the frontlines. And when we call for race-based data collection to prove what we all know is true, our request is denied, implemented only voluntarily in public health units that may see value in protecting our lives. These are only some examples of what anti-Blackness looks like in Ontario in 2021. And this is why Black leadership matters. Join me in conversation about what it means to Lead While Black in an Anti-Black World. This event is open to everyone.

Laura Mae Lindo will lead a presentation on Black Leadership in Anti-Black Spaces, followed by a Q&A/discussion afterward. 

Wednesday, February 10th, 6-7:30 pm: The Anti-Black Racism Workshop (90 mins) with Selam Debs 

Join community leader Selam Debs for this one-of-a-kind Anti-Racism Course that calls on individuals to dismantle unconscious bias, address white privilege, uncover systemic racism, and learn how to center the experience of BIPOC individuals. This event is open to everyone.

To view the workshop, click here.

Thursday, February 11th, 6-7 pm: Workshop: Overcoming Creative Doubt with The Making Box 

What if this isn’t good? What if others don’t like it? What if it fails? In many parts of life, these are important and useful thoughts. But when creativity is involved, they can damage the process. This interactive online workshop is for anyone who has a desire to be more creative (personally or professional) and doesn’t know where to start. This event is open to BIPOC identifying students only.

Wednesday, February 17th, 6-7:30 pm: Black + Mental Health + Matters Workshop with Art with Impact

Black + Mental Health + Matters is a 1.5-hour virtual workshop that is designed to be a place of refuge for Black students. Knowing that Black humans in North America face unique and specific barriers to mental wellness, this workshop provides a place for them to be seen and heard, both collectively and individually. Equipping participants with tools to help them heal and thrive, Black + Mental Health + Matters uses creative practices to center and uplift. This workshop is open to Black identifying individuals only. 

Saturday, February 20th, 10-11 am: Caribbean Dance Class 

The Guelph Black Students’ Association will be offering a free dance class featuring a creative blend of Caribbean and African movements set to dancehall, afro, and soca music. Join artist and community leader Kween for this exhilarating dance fitness workout! This class is open to everyone.

Thursday, February 25th, 7-9 pm: Stirrin’ the Pot: Afro-Caribbean Cooking Class  

Caribbean cuisine is a blend of African, Indian, European, Creole, Amerindian, Chinese, Cajun, and the Middle East flavours. Traditional foods are treasured – they are not just a meal, but a culture for bringing the people together. Chef Shar Maharaj of Shar Shar’s Kitchen Cookout will be teaching us how to prepare Roti and Curry Chicken/Chickpeas. 

Friday, February 26th, 7-8:30 pm: Fourth Friday ft. Aisha Barrow with the Guelph Civic Museum 

In celebration of Black Heritage Month 2021, Aisha Barrow will perform at the Guelph Civic Museum as part of the Fourth Friday concert series – this month presented in partnership with the Guelph Black Heritage Society.  Lifeandthetribe is the new R&b and Pop project from singer/songwriter Aisha Barrow. Drawing from diverse influences Lifeandthetribe has a bold, fresh, and new sound that can be best described as an amalgamation of Jazz, R&B, and Pop. After the successful release of their debut EP, Eye-sha: Extended, Lifeandthetribe is currently in process of recording their first full-length album, slated for release in 2021. This event is open to everyone. 

Featured Online Collection: Celebrating Black Narratives

Visit the library’s website to browse their newest online collection Celebrating Black Narratives. This collection is a collaboration between the Cultural Diversity Office, the Guelph Black Student Association (GBSA), and the McLaughlin Library. The titles in the collection were selected by members of the GBSA and feature several Black perspectives through a variety of narratives.