How the Trent African Caribbean Student Union is celebrating Black Heritage Month

ebration to remember important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Viola Desmond, a prominent black Nova Scotian businesswoman who changed the course of Canadian history by defiantly refusing to leave the whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946, is the face of Canada’s ten-dollar note. Her impact on the civil rights movement in Canada makes her one of many people deserving recognition for their courage.

The Trent African Caribbean Student Union (TACSU) aims to address the importance of black history by providing a platform of events to encourage and inform people. TACSU is a student group under the Trent International Students’ Association (TISA). The group’s main focus is to provide students, Canadian and international alike, with exposure to the cultures of Africa and the Caribbean. Black History Month is celebrated in February in Canada and TACSU has various events planned throughout their celebration of black history!

Their first event on February 1st was a TACSU Talk: Learning Out Roots Africa, where history professor Katrina Keefer came and gave a talk on pre-colonial and colonial African kingdoms. Important figures were noted in the colonial resistance, as well as those that were able to bring vast regions of peoples together.

“It was an event that many members enjoyed and learned a lot from. It reminded many of us how great the African nation is and how we continue to prosper in dire situations” says Najah Mohammed, Vice- President of TACSU.

TACSU’s second event, a movie night, was cancelled in favour of “Artist Showcase and Open Mic”, organized by the Community Race Relations Committee of Peterborough to for the celebrate and appreciate black artists.

To brighten up the month TACSU hosted a very successful, first ever TACSU Mingle event on February 10th at Gzowski Dining Hall. In the evening, members came out in their best attire to get to know one another. Mohammed comments: “It was a fun experience where members got to talk to one another, one-on-one for two minutes each. Many people said they enjoyed it and hope to do more of it in the coming year because it was good to know other students here at Trent.”

This week will feature “Learning Our Roots: the Caribbean” on February 15th. Current TACSU member and former Director of Publicity, Mikeela Skellekie will be discussing the history of the Caribbean and how it became the region that it is today. The following day will see a karaoke night in collaboration with OPIRG, for students to get together and show some self-love! Prizes will be awarded to accompany this theme.

On the 28th of February, they will have another student-led discussion about Pan-Africanism called “Connecting Our Roots” All these events are taking place at GC 115.

TACSU’s Black History Month celebrations will conclude with their annual formal, which is going to be held on March 4th. This year’s theme is Royal Voyage:  Under the Stars, where attendees will embark on a cruise around the African continent and the Caribbean Islands. It will be a night of celebrations and recognizing outstanding members from throughout the year.

“Let us never forget the stories of black Canadians’ courage in the face of intolerance. Diversity is our greatest strength, and we must always continue to build a country that affords equality and opportunity for all,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the subject of Black History Month. However, one should not forget what Morgan Freeman has pointed out in 2012: “Black history is American history”. It cannot be confined to just one month.