McGill’s third annual Black History Month (BHM) is getting a head start on festivities, with its Opening Ceremony event taking place tonight at the McGill Faculty Club. With esteemed writer, artist and scholar George Elliott Clarke as the keynote speaker, it is no surprise that the event is sold out. However, organizers say there are plenty of other outstanding events on tap for people to take in throughout February.
“We have a full slate of activities that promises something for everyone,” says Shanice Yarde, Equity Education Advisor (Anti-Oppression & Anti-Racism Education). No one knows BHM at McGill better than Yarde, who didn’t just start with BHM on the ground floor, she laid the foundation.
“For the first year, I was coordinating everything. But it’s great to see people take ownership and create their own events that I have added to the program,” she says, noting that BHM is a co-production between McGill, the Black Students’ Network and the Social Equity and Diversity Education Office. “It’s really helped us grow and gain momentum.”
This year’s BHM theme is Justice and Yarde says it’s a concept that invites any number of interpretations. “We want to explore what justice is in a broad sense and not exclusively around the legal idea,” she says. “What does justice mean in society and in different areas of our lives?”
Yarde notes that the idea of justice is built into the format of BHM, which gathers people together to meet, talk and exchange ideas. “We want BHM to bring people together so they can see each other and be seen – in particular, Black folks at McGill, who have been invisiblized. For me, that idea of justice is also to step into the forefront and take up space.”
Some of the highlights of Black History Month 2019 include:
Yarde is hoping to hear from more people with programming ideas of next year’s BHM, asking that interested people contact her via email.
Get the full slate of Black History Month activities, both on and off campus.