Volume 94, Issue 73
Thursday, February 1, 2001
|CAMPUS AND CULTURE
Black History Month - We've made great strides, but there is still a long way to go
By Celeste Battero & Leena Kamat
Photo by Bree Rohal
In an effort to promote Black History Month, the Black Educator's Association has organized various events in black communities across Nova Scotia consisting of presentations and plays recognizing the achievements within the education system, said Darren Desmond, regional representative for the BEA.
"People are becoming more aware, looking for African literature," he said, but admitted their organization is largely ignored except during February. Insufficient funding has also made it difficult for such black heritage organizations to operate effectively, he said
Harding-Davis agreed funding at any level of government is a difficulty they face all the time. "I don't know of any grants available. The town [of Windsor] has assisted us, but not on a regular basis."
The provincial government did provide funding for restoring a church, which was a station of the underground railroad, Harding-Davis said. "The importance of what we do here is only starting to be recognized."
Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, Helen Johns, recently visited Windsor to tour a site of the underground railroad, said Dan Remington, an information officer at the provincial Ministry. The Ministry had provided some funding for the restoration.
While no official government sponsored event happening during Black History Month, the Minister will be meeting next week with editors of publications for the black community to look at the issues concerning them, Remington said.
"Until we impact at a level that gives us equality in education, we still have work to do," Harding-Davis said.
The museum is starting to become internationally known as it has received requests from Britain and other countries for their resources. While Black History Month is only proclaimed in Canada and some states in the US, the rest of the world does know about the celebration, Harding-Davis added.
On the local scene, Western's Black Students' Association has many events planned throughout the month. Maria Sirivar, president of BSA and a fourth-year Honours Business Administration student said, "[Today] we have opening ceremonies in the [University Community Centre] Atrium to acknowledge the beginning of the month.
Seminars and discussions are planned throughout the month. On Feb. 10 at the London Convention Centre, the annual SOUL Night will be taking place.
Sirivar said Black History Month is about reflecting on ancestry. While the events go on for only a month, she thought people should not forget about black history during the rest of the year. "It's something we should be doing all-year round."
The African Students' Association at Western will also be hosting many events during the month, said Lemlem Girmatsion, president of ASA and a third-year health sciences student. Their annual cultural show, this coming Saturday, is their first major event of Black History Month, followed by dances and seminars.
"Black History Month is there to remember the struggles and obstacles that we had to face and overcome throughout time," Girmatsion said.
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