Black History Month at Mount Allison University
Student-organized events, video highlight what BHM means on campus
Black History Month is being marked at Mount Allison with a number of student-led initiatives and events.
Two student groups, the Islanders Society and the Black Students’ Union (BSU), working with the Mount Allison Students’ Union, have been leading Black History Month activities and events on campus.
“Our focus has been on education,” says Aminah Simmons, one of the co-founders of the Mount Allison Islanders Society, formed in 2017. “We’ve been involved with community events like the World Bazaar during Sackville’s Moonlight Madness and have met with other Caribbean societies at universities in the region.”
The Islanders Society is for students from Afro-Caribbean countries, Bermuda, and allies. The group has been partnering with the Black Students’ Union (BSU) on events and campaigns specific to Black History Month.
Simmons, a third-year religious studies and women’s and gender studies student from Bermuda, says the Society is also partnering with the R.P. Bell Library to display book recommendations by Caribbean writers in honour of Black History Month.
The Mount Allison BSU is a group dedicated to black students and to creating a safe place to talk and share culture, to being a resource, and to hosting events.
“The BSU is for black students and allies and aims to help students feel comfortable and offer support on campus,” says Kawama Kasutu, a second-year sociology student from Halifax, NS, and event co-ordinator for the group. “It’s been great to work with the Islanders Society and the MASU on events and activities throughout the term for what we’re calling Black History Month — Extended. We want to keep the atmosphere and learning around black history going and continue the conversation on campus.”
The BSU has organized several awareness and educational events on campus including a panel discussion on Mental Health and Blackness with Yusra Khogali from Black Lives Matter, scheduled for March (location, date, and time to be announced shortly). The University recently welcomed Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives, to campus as part of the President’s Speakers Series this term.
The student organizations also produced a video with the Mount Allison Students’ Union about what Black History Month means to students on campus.
“We’ve got a lot of activities in the works: poetry slams, hip hop trivia, and a few surprises coming up in the term,” says Kasutu. “We hope to make Black History Month — Extended at Mount Allison even bigger in the future.”
For more information on the BSU, including events on campus, find them on FB and Instagram (@mtabsu); MASU (masu.ca)
Photo captions: Yusra Khogali, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, will lead a panel discussion on blackness and mental health on campus in March (details to be announced shortly). The event is part of Black History Month activities at Mount Allison, organized in part by the Mount Allison Black Students' Union, the Islanders Society, and the MASU.