February 1 marks the beginning of an important month in Canada, and for us as a community, as we commemorate and recognize Black History Month and see, appreciate, celebrate, and listen to our Black-identifying partners, colleagues, and friends.
The SLC community will have several ways to participate and continue to grow how we embody our value of Belonging. Of special note is the enhanced dimension some aspects of this month are taking, to recognize that it is not enough to merely learn about historical events from a traditional lens, but to also commit to supporting present day efforts like exploring history with a critical perspective, supporting local Black-owned businesses, donating to Black-led organizations, or amplifying voices of Black peers and community members. We can all work together towards a brighter and more equitable future.
Anti-Black racism, injustice, discrimination, and violence continues to occur. There remains much work to do for us all and we each need to actively address anti-Black racism and critically analyze any of our own biases. The emotional labour and education should not fall all on our Black community members but on us all.
I encourage everyone to take this time to recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience, and diversity of the Black community in Canada. Several events we are supporting, include a musical performance at Kingston’s Grand Theatre, and virtual webinars to tackle the hard topic of racism, and more. Please continue to watch URSLC for details on how and when you can participate. Please join the virtual Black Histories and Futures Month Opening Ceremony, on Wednesday, February 1 at 5 pm.
If you wonder whether participation and education will make a difference, please know that increasing your knowledge of the challenges faced, and of the incredible contributions made by Black Canadians throughout history and today, is an important step in becoming an active ally. There are many resources available to take on the responsibility of your own learning. Please check out our Virtual Library Display for many audio books, books, movies, and documentaries.
I hope everyone will make time and space this month to recognize and celebrate Black History Month, however, celebrating Black individual and community accomplishments does not end on February 28. Whether you attend an event, take part in a webinar, share space with peers, participation in this month is a step towards growing the ways we continue the important work of Belonging, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within our shared community all year long.
Glenn Vollebregt (He/Him)
President and CEO
St. Lawrence College