UBCO students celebrate Black History Month virtually

Black History Month 2021 graphic

Different cultures, foods, hairstyles all part of the activities

While it’s going to be virtual, there will still be a lot to celebrate with UBC Okanagan’s African Caribbean Student Club (ACSC) during Black History Month.

Each February the student-led cultural organization, consisting of about 200 students, gears up to celebrate and share their cultural backgrounds. The students come from many different countries and yet have a unique passion about their history that they love to share, explains club president Jane Udochi. The club hosts events throughout the year to highlight the diversity of African and Caribbean culture.

“The ACSC strives to highlight Black excellence on campus through everything we do,” she says. “It encourages the celebration of traditions both from Africa and the Caribbean, and gives a platform for these cultures to be celebrated. For a lot of us, it reminds us of home.”

February is Black History Month across Canada and the students have been especially busy organizing a number of virtual events this month.

“Despite the activities being virtual we, as an executive team, still wanted to celebrate Black history with the community,” says Udochi. “We wanted to do our best to encompass the theme of Black joy and intersectionality that highlights the parts of ourselves that make the Black community so amazing. We want to share this experience with as many people as we can and the good thing about being virtual is that it allows us to do that.”

Udochi says she is proud UBCO has the ACSC because it is a true demonstration of the university’s values and helps everyone to celebrate and support the many different cultural societies in the community.

UBCO’s Equity Inclusion Office (EIO) has teamed up with the student club to present a number of virtual events throughout the month including Black Care Baskets. The care basket initiative is created by the EIO in collaboration with UBCO International Program and Services, Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, Campus Health and locally-based clothing store OKGN Lifestyle to support Black community and connection.

The care baskets contain self-care-based products and information, recipes and ingredients to highlight the Black community’s continued resilience, joy, and culinary cultures. The baskets are for Black students, alumni, faculty and staff within the Okanagan. To learn more contact UBCO’s Equity Inclusion Office at equity.ubco@ubc.ca.

Highlights of the month include specific days to promote Black-owned businesses in and around Kelowna and to celebrate the many different ways in which Black people express themselves. Each week will have a theme and the month will be filled with events, prizes, contests and giveaways.

All events are virtual and open to the public. Details on how to get involved can be found on the ACSC’s Facebook page: facebook.com/AfricanCaribbeanStudentClub or at events.ubc.ca/black-history-month

This year's events include:

February 1 to 7
Black Culture Week. The events this week will celebrate Black heritage and lineage with performance days showcase the talents of the Black community on February 3, 4 and 5.

February 8 to 14
Black Expression Week. This week celebrates the different ways in which Black people express themselves.

February 8
Hair workshop. This event will be pre-recorded, and it will consist of a range of different hairstyles that are done often among Black people. It strives to promote Black hair as well as to teach people different ways that they could express themselves through hair.

February 9 and 11
Performance Days. This event highlights the art of music and dance commonly used as a way of expression by many. The event will last for two days. It will be pre-recorded.

February 10 at 10 a.m.
Virtual workshop, exploring lived experiences of resilience through creativity and self-governance grounded on the philosophy of Ubuntu. Presented by the EIO. Register at: equity.ubc.ca/events/through-the-lens-i-am-because-you-are-vs-i-am-because-youre-not

February 12
Session with guest speakers Rawle James and Yaw Obrenu Yamoah at 4:30 p.m.

February 15 to 21
LGBTQ+ Week. This week will focus on celebrating the Black LGBTQ+ population in the community

February 19
Out Talk. This event is hosted by the Pride resource centre and takes place at 3:30 p.m.

February 22 to 28
Black Excellence Week. This Week celebrates Black people and their success and achievements through the display of art.

February 24
Virtual Vs DJ battle occurring on Instagram Live

February 26
Session with guest speaker Amoye Henry, co-founder of Pitch Better, Toronto at5:30 p.m.

February 26
The EIO is hosting a virtual potluck for the Black community to connect, listen to music, converse and share food in a COVID-safe manner. 5:30 to 7 p.m. Register at: equity.ok.ubc.ca/events/event/black-history-month-events

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca