VIU Campus

Recognizing Black History Month

Black History Month begins today in Canada. Black History Month was established to “celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation it is today.”

As we work to deepen VIU’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, we can take the many opportunities that will occur during this month to learn about the experiences of Black Canadians. We will be sharing resources in our employee and student enewsletters, the VIU Digest and the Student Pulse, that will allow our community to listen to the voices and learn about the experiences of Black Canadians and Americans. Our Library, CUPE Local 1858 and others will use this month to share reading lists about anti-Black racism and how to be an antiracist and ally, articles on a variety of topics from prominent Black Canadians and Americans, and personal stories about what it’s like to be a Black Canadian.

To start us off in a good way, I asked Dr. Sonnet L’Abbe, an English Professor and the Chair of the Creative Writing and Journalism program at VIU, if she would choose one of her poems for me to share with you to start off Black History Month. This is the one that she chose: 



is an important aspect

of any class text. Ask

your professor if you may

say no way! to object, or


hey! to interject, in any essay

meant to earn respect.

You can't say: this dude

knows his shit. Nor can you


say: he's full of it. To argue

your point, your joint

gotta have vocab game.

However and nonetheless


kick but's ass. They got

up-in-front-of-the class.

Address to impress.

Your convention hall pass.


The rules of tone are all

unspoken. One learns

the hard way

how they can be broken.


from Killarnoe, McClelland and Stewart, 2007


Please take some time to explore and engage with the different opportunities that will occur over the next month. Our commitment to listen to these stories, learn about our history, and understand the experiences of Black Canadians is an important beginning to building a VIU community that truly values equity, inclusion and access for all.


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