Black History Month puts the focus on Black stories, culture and resilience

Black History Month at Trinity College School was a huge success this year. In the Senior School, we started the month off by having the School tune in to the national bestselling author of They Said This Would Be Fun, Eternity Martis. She discussed what it is like today on Canadian university campuses for BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Colour) students and how the power of storytelling can be an incredible tool for resilience. She had a great question and answer session where she responded to students’ burning questions, from what more institutions should be doing to combat racism to what her current favourite reads are.

Speaking of favourite reads, Ms. Shelagh Straughan and Ms. Viola Lyons had the library decked out in books that were about Black folks or by Black authors. From biographies to young adult fiction, the library had students and staff covered if they were interested in reading a variety of stories about the Black community. Thank you, Ms. Straughan and Ms. Lyons!

Next, the Black Student Alliance gave a chapel presentation to the School. The theme was “Black Resilience.” The group discussed topics of police brutality, how COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting Black communities as well as Black history and black accomplishments. The presentation outlined how Black history is happening currently. Our ancestors’ history is important to remember, but there is so much to learn from the Black community in the last year.

Throughout the month, the Black Student Alliance collaborated with the TCS culinary services team to have amazing dishes that were inspired by Black culture. From jerk chicken and rice and peas to curry fish and dumplings to chicken massa and joloff rice, throughout the month, the kitchen provided recipes from Africa and the diaspora. At dinner, the sounds of soca, afrobeats reggae and dancehall filled the Davies Student Centre and Olser Hall for students to enjoy while they ate. We are thankful for the culinary team and all of their hard work during Black History Month.

To finish the month off, the Black Student Alliance hosted a Langmuir Cup event which was a “Name That Tune” game. Students from each house were quizzed on their knowledge of Black music artists. We featured songs from the 1960s up to the present day. Students got to flex their impressive musical knowledge and win Langmuir points for their house. We also had a Themed Thursday where students were encouraged to wear Pan-African colours to show their Black History Month support. The hallways were flooded with a sea of red, green, black and yellow in support of the Black Student Alliance and Black History Month. 

The month and its events were incredibly successful. I would like to thank a few people who made it possible. Thank you to Chef Patrick McLean and the entire culinary team for meeting with Black students and taking and making their suggestions. Thank you to Ms. Straughan and Ms. Lyons for your hard work to make sure TCS is supporting Black stories. Thank you to Ms. Rachel Stephens for your continued support of the Black Student Alliance. Thank you to the Black Student Alliance leaders, Bolu Abiola, Rati Dube and Kamsy Onyekere, for your continued leadership and passion for making TCS a more inclusive community. Thank you to the Black Student Alliance members for your initiative and ideas, this month wouldn’t have been possible without you.

- By Ms. Zoe Walwyn, residential assistant and staff supervisor of Black Student Alliance