Black History Month at York

Posted by York & U on February 2, 2021

Student Life

Every February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate Black culture and to applaud the achievements and significant contributions Black Canadians have made to build Canada. Those contributions have made the country stronger and more diverse. The pandemic may have put all in-person events on hold for now, but that won’t stop the York community from celebrating and educating during this important month.

A typewriter with paper that says "Black Lives Matter"
Black Lives Matter

This February is jam-packed with virtual events for Black History Month, with a focus on education and anti-racism. Join the conversation and check out the Black History Month Page for up-to-date information and events being held throughout the month. There are a lot of events that we have listed here but be sure to keep an eye on these pages throughout the month, as there could be additional events and workshops that you can attend. Here’s a snapshot of some of the events happening this month, as well as some important resources for the community.

Poster of the Celebrate While We Educate with a collage of African student clubs
Black Student Clubs celebrate and educate students about Black culture

Celebrate While We Educate with Black Students Associations

For some fun student-led events such as trivia, cooking classes and more, the Student  Community & Leadership Development (SCLD) Student Engagement Ambassadors have partnered with many of York’s Student Associations to hold #CelebrateWhileWeEducate to celebrate different branches of Black culture at York! Whether you’re looking to learn about famous African icons and pioneers, looking for a dance workshop or testing your knowledge about international flags, there is something for you here. This week ends with a Celebrate While We Educate Panel representing all of York’s Black Student Associations together discussing Black History Month.

Get Educated with Workshops from The Centre for Human Rights, Equity & inclusion

The Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion (CHREI) is holding a weekly Understanding Racism Workshop Series throughout February which aims to provide students, staff and faculty the tools to understand racism and to develop strategies to be anti-racist.

In addition to this, you can also attend this month’s Respect, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) Workshops. These workshops are not only a great way to learn, but they are a professional development opportunity that will help you for your career beyond York. Attend at least three of the REDI workshops (90 minutes each) and complete the REDI Online Tutorial to receive a REDI Certificate of Completion!

If these workshops interest you, we highly recommend you take some time to learn more about CHREI and their programming. The REDI Workshops run throughout the entire year and the Understanding Racism Workshops will be happening every Tuesday in February from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Check out the detailed schedule and sign up!

A Black man drinks water from a water filter labelled as "Coloured" during the era of segregation.
Humanity is one. Let’s not discriminate.

More Workshops

As we mentioned above, if you continue to visit some of these calendars thoroughout the month, you will find more events popping up. We suggest reaching out to your Faculty or College to see if they have any virtual events planned for Black History Month week as well. For example, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies have organized events such as Diaspora, Humanism and the Global Project of Black Freedom, a panel discussion that brings together several influential scholars from Canada, the United States and Kenya to discuss the ideas in their recent books, and another interesting panel featuring students, faculty and alumni about How York alumni are advancing initiatives in Black communities. You can also join this Glendon Brown Bag Lunch Series on Signing Black in America and the Black ASL Project. While these events may be organized by specific Faculties, all students are welcome. Go ahead and check with your Faculty and others to see if there is any programming that interests you!

The Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education also has an event lined up as a part of Sexual Violence Response Education Week (stay tuned for an in-depth post about that later this week), which runs from Friday, February 5 to Friday, February 12. Continuing the conversation from an event in November, The Issues and Impacts of Misogynoir: Voices of Experience will feature a discussion addressing “misogynoir”, the term coined by queer Black feminist Moya Bailey to describe the experiences of prejudice and harassment directed at Black women. Speakers will share their experiences and challenges addressing misogynoir and the presentation will be followed by a one-hour healing and support space dedicated to Black women.

A Black athlete getting ready for a relay race.
Celebrate Black excellence with Athletics & Recreation

Celebrate Black Excellence with Athletics & Recreation

Athletics & Recreation (A&R) is offering a number of opportunities to celebrate Black Excellence along with learning more about the tremendous Black student-athletes within our own department.

Please visit, every Monday to read new spotlights or follow @yorkulions throughout the month for exciting stories, videos and events as they celebrate Black History Month! 

A black and white poster of fists raised against racism with messages of "No Racism"
Stand up against racial discrimination!


The Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion (CHREI) has a great summary page and links on “What is Racism?” For some good reads, Professor Lorne Foster wrote the Being Black in Canada article featured in the York University magazine.

Career Education & Development offers specialized resources for Black students, aiming to help them with job searches, career guidance and post-graduate study options.

To provide students with a safe space, Student Counselling, Health & Well-Being has created a support group exclusively for Black, Indigenous & People of Colour (BIPOC) students.

As part of the Division of Student’s work to address oppression and confront anti-Black racism, SCLD have also compiled a working anti-racist resource document to inform and educate the student community.

For more York initiatives make sure you drop by the Harriet Tubman Institute to see what research they are undertaking.

Let us know what being anti-racist means to you, tweet us @YorkUStudents or comment below!

To stay up to date on campus life and events, connect with York on social media. You can follow us on Facebook @YorkUStudents, Twitter @YorkUStudents, Instagram @studentlifeyu and with our weekly This Week @ York emails.