Monday, February 13, 2012

Why do we celebrate Black History Month? To re-humanize a people

I believe that Black History Month is for everyone. However, Black History Month is important for Black people, and it’s important to understand why.

Why is Black History Month in February?

Every year, the question "why did we get stuck with the shortest month of the year for Black History Month?" is asked.

I am almost ashamed to say I only learned the answer recently, in preparing for speaking at Durham College/UOIT’s Black History Month Mix and Mingle, last week.

But, I'm not fully ashamed because, as is the case with most Black History, the answer is out there, but it's not provided easily, one must actively go and get it, unlike normative histories that are entrenched in the standard curricula. That this question keeps coming up also demonstrates the continued value of Black History Month - there is still so much we have to learn.

So, while the answer is "out there", I’ll summarize it here to build up the content availability, and then add some OughtThoughts.

Durham College/UOIT Respects Diversity

I had the honour of spending precious, too-little time with Durham College’s President, Don Lovisa, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Provost, Dr. Richard Marceau, on the occasion of their Black History Month Mix and Mingle “Respecting Diversity”, organized by Rochelle Ramathe, Diversity Director, with special guests including Oshawa City Councillor Doug Sanders and Oshawa Mayor John Henry.

Their respective remarks showcased their level of leadership, not only in Durham Region, but of national and international scope, and it’s my pleasure to share them here.