During Black History Month, in Canada, we recognize the legacies of the Black communities who have contributed to creating a diverse country and continue to shape Canada’s prosperity. This creates a space for education and conversation on Black history. February 1, 2023, marks the start of Black History Month, during which the International Education Centre (IEC) has several interactive events planned for all University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) students.
In an email interview with The Medium, the IEC team expresses that: “[For Black History Month], in the spirit of our office’s mandate to advance global and intercultural perspectives within the UTM community, the IEC will roll out events and social media campaigns as per previous years.”
On February 15, 2023, the IEC, alongside the International Student Centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Centre for International Experience at the University of Toronto St. George, will be hosting a tri-campus event titled Our Stories: Black History Month. During the event, Black students will be sharing their stories and experiences with the U of T community.
Additionally, on February 16, 2023, the IEC will be partnering with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office at UTM to host a “Black History Month Social Hour open to all members of the UTM community.”
Throughout the month of February, the IEC will also be featuring posts on its social media that are “geared toward celebrating the achievements of prominent Black Canadians; telling the stories of UTM students, faculty, and staff self-identifying as Black; commemorating the dark history of slavery, racism, discrimination, and subjugation faced by the Black community around the world; and reflecting on how such institutional racism and discrimination in the Canadian context still continue today.”
As UTM is home to many international students and communities, the IEC recognizes the importance of curating a welcoming, knowledgeable, and supportive atmosphere for different cultures and backgrounds. In planning Black History Month’s events, the IEC seeks to celebrate and inform. “Professional staff and student-staff self-identifying as Black within the IEC are the ones curating and guiding the direction of [their] initiatives,” the centre outlines.
Black History Month events hosted by the IEC are open to all members of the UTM community. The IEC looks forward to the Black History Month celebrations and encourages all members of the UTM community to participate in the events. This will broaden intercultural perspectives and increase awareness of the importance, origin, and development of Black history.