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Celebrating Black History Month at Queen’s

An opening ceremony will launch weeks of scheduled activities across campus and city.

Artist, poet, and Queen's alumna, Britta B.
Artist and poet Britta B will share a spoken word performance as part of the virtual opening ceremony.

On Feb. 1, Queen’s will mark the start of Black History Month celebrations with an opening ceremony that launches the month’s calendar of activities. The virtual gathering will feature a panel discussion on Black health and wellness by prominent campus leaders and change advocates, and a spoken word performance by award-winning artist and poet Britta B.

“This virtual opening provides an opportunity for us as a community to gather and collectively reflect on the depth of meanings that Black History Month holds,” says Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion), whose office is leading the event. “I welcome everyone to join us as we seek to engage in a thoughtful and celebratory start to the month’s activities.”

Emceed by Jermaine Marshall, Inclusion & Anti-Racism Advisor, the panel event will bring together Dr. Wanda Costen, Dean of the Smith School of Business; Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Senior Advisor of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Initiatives with the Faculty of Health Sciences; Samara Lijiam, Social Issues Commissioner of the Alma Mater Society; and Ayden Adeyanju-Jackson, EDI Student Assistant with the Yellow House, for a discussion on Black health and wellness. Their conversation is set to explore the complex meanings of and challenges to Black wellness at both an individual and institutional level. The opening ceremony is open to anyone who registers to attend and will run from 5-6 pm ET. 

The ceremony will serve as the launch of a broad calendar of events to be held by groups across Queen’s and Kingston in celebration of Black arts, culture, history, research, community, and more. Throughout February, the schedule will be open for new submissions, so check back often for new ways to get involved.

Among February’s itinerary are Black fashion events, art exhibitions, educational panels and anti-racism sessions, Black queerness and selfcare workshops, as well as dance and music expos. 

Queen’s is also sponsoring the Canadian Black Scientists Network’s BE-STEMM 2022 event — an interdisciplinary event created to highlight the excellence of Black Canadians working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine/Health. The virtual program will run from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2. A Leadership Summit on the last day will focus on practices and programs for promoting inclusion that supports and encourages Black Canadians in STEMM.

“Black History Month provides us with an important opportunity to reflect on the experiences, accomplishments, and contributions of Black community members here in Canada, abroad, and right here at Queen’s,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “We must also use this time to critically examine the inequities, particularly the barriers of discrimination, that Black community members face, and to commit to action ways to ensure they are dismantled once and for all.”

Register to attend the online opening ceremony, and check the full schedule of Black History Month events once it goes live on the Human Rights & Equity Office website following the ceremony. If you would like to add your event or activity to the calendar, please use the submission form.