2019 marks the first year MacEwan University will be hosting a Black History Month celebration. According to Yonae Rolle, the lead administrator for the event, “it is only fitting that the inaugural celebration of Black History Month at MacEwan is held in 2019,” considering the Office of Human Rights, Diversity, and Equity was established in 2018 and Alberta officially recognized Black History Month in 2017.
The celebration was organized by the Office of Human Rights while collaborating with the Student Association of MacEwan University (SAMU), the School of Continuing Education, Sport and Wellness, Residence Services, Student Affairs, the MacEwan Bookstore, and faculty representatives from the Departments of Sociology, English, and Social Work, the African & Caribbean Student Association, says Rolle.
There will be a kick-off event on Monday, Feb. 4 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Allard Hall Atrium. The event is going to showcase the Sangea Academy, who will be performing African drumming and dance, Ahmed Ali, also referred to as Knowmadic, he is an Edmonton poet who will be performing spoken word, and David Shepherd, the Edmonton-Centre MLA who will be presenting a keynote address.
“Students, staff, faculty, and our external community members can expect to enjoy song and dance, drumming, spoken word, open dialogue, film, food, vendor artifacts, informative teachings, individual reflection, and tributes to black Canadians who have contributed to Canada’s culture and legacy,” says Rolle.
Some of the events include a dance performance on Feb. 7, a Roundhouse film screening on Feb. 8, a drum performance Feb. 11, a student panel on Feb. 13, and a special, close-out event on Feb. 28. Sport and Wellness is also offering a number of classes throughout the month called “Afrofit” and “Socafit”. Afrofit is presented by the Sangea Academy where African dance movements are paired with resistance and body-weight training to achieve a full body workout. Socafit combines Caribbean and African dance music (and movement) to achieve a sculpted physique.
PopUpShop is also going to feature Black History Month-inspired shopping with a showcase of African, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Latin vendors. The MacEwan Bookstore is is also selling Black History Month t-shirts during the month of February. The t-shirts are meant to promote awareness, and the proceeds are going to contribute to a new academic award that will be given to marginalized students.
“All Black History Month events at MacEwan are free of charge and open to the public. We encourage everyone to visit our website at MacEwan.ca/BlackHistoryMonth for all event details as some events require registration,” Rolle says.