From left to right: Taseera Lwanga, Donneil McNab and Ruth Nakalyowa. Royal Roads University’s Afro-Heritage Association will host two Black History Month events at the university this month. (Courtesy of John-Evan Snow)

Royal Roads honours Black History Month by celebrating black excellence

National theme is ‘Canadians of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past’

Every February, Canadians participate in Black History Month festivities to honour black Canadians from the past and in the present. This year’s national theme for Black History Month is “Canadians of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past” and Royal Roads University will be holding its own events inspired by the theme.

“It’s an opportunity for us to raise more awareness and bring community members together to learn, listen and engage,” said Ruth Nakalyowa, co-founder and president of the Royal Roads University Afro-Heritage Association.

The association was created last year to connect students of Afro-heritage and connect with students who are interested in learning more about diverse cultures.

READ ALSO: Black Canadians Forum hosted in Victoria for Black History Month

The first event on Feb. 5 is called “Black Speaks: Conversations on hair, interracial dating, the ‘N’ word and cultural appropriation.” It is a student-focused round table discussion about popular topics where the audience can hear different opinions and even chime in with their own thoughts and questions using a special website. The audience’s comments will be displayed on a screen while the discussion goes on.

Nakalyowa said it will be a laid-back event that will give audience members a chance to hear different perspectives amongst black students.

“These are things we are saying affect us but just because we are all black doesn’t mean we have the same opinions and experiences,” Nakalyowa said. “This session is not to reform people, it’s just about knowing that black people have different opinions.”

On Feb. 19, a panel discussion titled “Celebrating Black Excellence” takes place at Royal Roads University’s Grant Quarterdeck. It will feature successful individuals of Afro-heritage from Africa, Canada and the Caribbean who are based in Victoria. Not only will they share their achievements, they will share their journey to success and talk about any hurdles encountered along the way.

“We want to highlight people in the community who are exceeding expectations, breaking down barriers and sitting at tables that perhaps may not have been the norm 10 years ago,” Nakalyowa said.

READ ALSO: EDITORIAL: Black History Month offers an opportunity to learn

The panelists include Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow, principal of Blue Mountain Solutions Theresa Ito, Pearson College’s community events and partnerships manager Angela Gatari and Binkadi Community Services executive director Me-Kon Hayes.

Nakalyowa, who is originally from Uganda and has lived in other parts of the world as well, said she is seeing that more people are becoming open to learning more about black culture and society. Being able to host events such as these means a lot to her, she said.

“Victoria is becoming more diverse as we speak with more newcomers, immigrants and refugees,” Nakalyowa said. “We don’t want to be othering. We want to open up the floor so people can engage with us and learn about who we are. We’re building bridges.”

The Black Speaks: Conversations on hair, interracial dating, the “N” word and cultural appropriation round is Feb. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Royal Roads University Centre for Dialogue.

The Celebrating Black Excellence Panel Discussion takes place on Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Royal Roads University Grant Quarterdeck.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

historyRoyal Roads University

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mental Health: Fractured services leave community to fill gaps

Greater Victoria service providers working together to help youth

UVic creates emergency bursary for students facing hardships due to COVID-19

Students can apply by emailing the financial aid office

Saanich teen earns $100,000 commerce scholarship to the University of Calgary

Matias Totz is graduating from St. Michaels University School

Peninsula organizations fund food bank ahead of ‘looming crisis’

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank receives more than $5,000 from local organizations

Traffic impacted on the Malahat near Goldstream Park

Reported crash in northbound lane of highway

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Most Read