Black Student Support and Engagement (BSSE) plays a critical role in providing Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber students who identify as Black, African and Caribbean with a sense of community along with resources and support to help them fully maximize their post-secondary experience.
The important work the group does building community and providing opportunities and connection continues throughout the year at Humber. There are workshops and events, such as the Kings Gathering and Queens Circle, social events, professional and personal development opportunities and much more.
The Black Heritage Month 365 Calendar is one way that BSSE engages with and informs Humber’s Black community throughout the year.
Black Heritage Month is celebrated each February at Humber. Jemeisha Williams, coordinator, Student Equity and Inclusion with BSSE, says it’s an important time to celebrate the richness of Black culture and identity. However, Williams notes that the work BSSE does extends beyond the month and touches many facets of campus life.
Williams said, for example, they always encourage faculties and departments to offer spaces for Black students and other equity-deserving groups throughout the year, not just in February. If there’s an event happening, they support whoever is hosting to reach out to the Black community and let them know the event is for them as well.
When it comes to the classroom and curriculum, faculties are encouraged to think about how they can support Black students and other equity-seeking groups and if there are opportunities to connect lived experiences with the content they are teaching.
“It’s really a collaborative effort to make sure our students feel like they belong in every area of the College and that other folks are facilitating an atmosphere of belonging and community for them,” said Williams.
The theme for this year’s Black Heritage Month at Humber is “Without Community, There is No Liberation” which is based on a powerful quote from the noted American writer, educator and civil rights activist Audre Lorde. The theme pays homage to the interconnectedness of individuals and the ways in which they contribute to each other's liberation.
“This month allows us to demonstrate the diversity within our community and also to give allies perspective on the richness of our culture and community,” said Williams. “What really makes the Black community special – that’s our focus.”
Black Heritage Month starts on February 1 with an opening ceremony at Lakeshore Campus. Programming continues throughout the month with a diverse range of events, including educational workshops, cultural performances, panel discussions, and art exhibitions.
One event is the Jollof Off on February 20 at North Campus. Jollof is a popular West African dish that symbolizes cultural identity, and the event celebrates Jollof’s cultural significance and deliciousness.
The Melanin Market happens on February 22 at North Campus and will feature handmade goods from Black-owned businesses along with authentic African and Caribbean cuisine plus other activities.
For a full list of Black Heritage Month events at Humber, visit the Black Heritage Month 365 online calendar.