Every February, people in Canada are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities. The theme for Black History Month 2022 is February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day. (Canadian Heritage)
Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:
Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies
“History is power. History is self-determination. Those who have power to exercise self-determination have power to control the writing and promotion of their history. Therefore, celebrating Black history and Black History Month is more than a perfunctory exercise that acknowledges Black people throughout the African Diaspora and Africa. Teaching, researching, and promoting the history of a globally subordinated and subjugated racial group is an innocuous yet profoundly revolutionary act of self-determination.”
Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies and a historian of post-Reconstruction United States, specializing on the African American experience. His research focuses on the intersections of the United States, Canada, and the African Diaspora.
wendell.adjetey [at] mcgill.ca (English)
Kimani Daniel, Faculty Lecturer, Ingram School of Nursing
“Black History Month is an essential opportunity to celebrate the vibrancy and contributions of the Black community to Canadian history. However, this celebration should be seen as part of the year-long need to see positive reflections of the community in building our present-day society. This recognition of our shared history is important for the health and well-being of everyone.”
Kimani Daniel is a Faculty Lecturer in the Ingram School of Nursing. In her role as clinical nurse specialist in maternal-child health at the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, she was the site lead for the quality improvement program, MOREOB, a comprehensive performance improvement program that creates a culture of patient safety in obstetrical units.
kimani.daniel [at] mcgill.ca (English)
Philip S. S. Howard, Assistant Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education
“Black History Month is an important opportunity for celebration, affirmation, and focused attention within Black communities that are doing the daily work of asserting our humanity. This is yet another occasion where Black persons and Black communities can embrace the Black joy inherent in celebrating the ways in which we have made Black life despite the ubiquity of anti-Blackness. In dominant institutions, however, the celebratory cannot and should not be allowed to take the place of accountability and responsibility displayed through meaningful and substantive attention to dismantling institutional anti-Black racism that extend beyond Black History Month.”
Philip S. S. Howard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies. He works in the areas of critical race studies, anti-colonial studies, and antiblackness in education. His current research projects investigate contemporary Canadian blackface as a postracialist phenomenon, and Black people’s agency in educational contexts in Toronto, Halifax, and Montreal.
philip.howard [at] mcgill.ca (English)
Myrna Lashley, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry
"We must ALL face, and truthfully confront, our collective history. In so doing, we can start the process of co-constructing a new world and work together toward the creation of spaces in which we are all equal and for which we have shared responsibility. In this manner, one group will no longer be placed into the position of 'waiting, asking or begging' to be viewed as worthy to be invited in. By being a co-constructor, they will automatically have -— and not only be granted — equal status and rights."
Myrna Lashley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and an Adjunct Researcher at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital. She is the Chair of the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security, as well as Vice-chair of the board of the École Nationale de Police du Québec. Her current research interests are in cultural aspects of youth mental health, and cultural aspects of radicalization leading to violence.
myrna.lashley2 [at] mcgill.ca (English)
Emmanuel Tabi, Assistant Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education
“Black History Month is an opportunity to communicate and highlight the resistance, resilience, care, hope, and joy of the African Diaspora, despite the physical, emotional, social and political injuries we continue to navigate and heal from. It is a time to speak to our triumphs and various histories, a time to speak about who we were before slavery and colonization, how we continue to move towards a form of liberation that supports and celebrates the lives and many contributions of Black trans folks, Black women and Black queer folks; and how we now live, function and flourish in a world that is, in many ways, anti-Black."
Emmanuel Tabi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education. His intersectional Black Studies frameworks, strong arts-based and community-engaged scholarship with/in Black communities, and his wide experience working with school boards to address issues of equity, position him at the cutting-edge of crucial education conversations and school-community-university collaborations in Canada.
emmanuel.tabi [at] mcgill.ca (English)
Pascaline Kengne Talla, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences
“Black History Month is an unprecedented and renewed opportunity to highlight the diversity of the Canadian population and past, present and future contributions to the mosaic of our country. It is also an occasion to increase public awareness to the issues that the Black community continues to experience, their under-representation in certain fields and sectors of activity, and especially the urgency to continue the momentum towards inclusiveness.”
Pascaline Kengne Talla is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences. Her current research focuses on community outreach and innovations to fostering access to oral health care from an equity, diversity and inclusion perspective, within a vision of the social determinants of health, and a holistic approach to health.
pascaline.kengnetalla [at] mcgill.ca (English, French)