BCIT recognizes and celebrates Black History Month

BCIT celebrated Black Excellence Day on January 13, 2023, as a lead up to Black History Month. Three local Black community leaders, Orene Askew (aka DJ O’Show), Anthonia Ogundele, and Lama Mugabo, participated in a discussion panel, moderated by Sharad Khare, to explain what Black Excellence means to them.

This year, Canada will mark its 28th official Black History Month, and this year’s theme is “Ours to Tell.” BCIT acknowledges that racism exists within our community, just as it does within the broader community, both on an individual level as well as systemically. As such it is important that we celebrate Black History Month, it provides us an opportunity to reflect on the past, recognize the contributions, achievements, and rich cultural heritage of Black Canadians while raising awareness of the ongoing struggle for equality, inclusiveness, and social justice.

This is a time to honour those that have made contributions to our society across Canada. Stories such as that of the Honourable Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, Canada’s first Black Member of Parliament, Cabinet minister, and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. In a statement by the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, “The story of Lincoln Alexander’s life is one of the countless many that highlight the positive impact that Black and Afro-descendant communities have made and continue to make towards building the country that we love today. Our shared history reminds us of how far we’ve come, but it also helps us chart the path for where we want to go.”

BCIT recognizes that without removing barriers to inclusion, racialized staff, faculty, and students will not feel valued on an equal level, and we will miss out on the experience, knowledge, and talent that racially diverse people contribute to an organization. We continue to commit to our goal formed by the BCIT Anti-Racism Framework to ensure that all racialized groups feel respected and included in our diverse community. Everyone has the responsibility to ensure that all staff, faculty, and students feel that they are part of a community that embraces all cultures and ethnicities. In the Respect, Diversity, and Inclusion (RDI) Office, we continue to develop opportunities to learn and to support all people at BCIT. To that end, we have developed five Free Online Learning courses that can help you on your journey in creating a more inclusive and respectful community:

1. Anti-Racism

Consider this course an invitation to being in deeper relationship with both yourself, and the people you encounter in your work, education, and beyond. In this training, you will be challenged, stretched, and supported to reflect, engage deeply, and cultivate a stronger anti-racist practice

2. Understanding Unconscious Bias

This course aims to help us all understand ourselves and our world better through an examination of our own unconscious biases that we may or may not be aware of and how we see the world and interact with others. Our hope is that you feel empowered to choose how you can help change our world for the better through your own thoughts and actions.

3. Respectful Workplaces

This course will help everyone understand the factors needed to define and work towards creating workplaces that are respectful and accommodating for the benefit of all people.

4. Human Rights 101

This training addresses human rights legislation and will support you in gaining a better understanding of your rights and obligations under this legislation.

5. Relearning Gender

​​​The topic of gender inclusion is something that many of us are learning, or relearning. This module will help you approach the topic of how to create safer spaces for the 2S/LGBTQIA+ community.

Additional resources and educational opportunities:

(Article written by: BCIT Respect, Diversity, and Inclusion Office)

Leave a comment