By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on February 2, 2024.
Black History Month celebrates the rich cultural heritage, the wonderful success. and past adversities faced by African Americans.
Officially launched February 1970, at Kent State University in the United States. Canada didn’t recognize Black History Month until the House of Commons in December of 1995 officially recognized February as Black History Month.
Lethbridge College is honouring Black History Month with a month of activities, and cultural learning opportunities with the rich diversity of the Black community on campus celebrating historic achievements of Black Canadians.
Current general arts and science student Bose Theresa Ogaosun talked on Thursday about the opportunity she has to share Black culture.
“This is an opportunity for me to also advocate for the Black community as well. So coming here and speaking and talking about what it is like to be a Black person, what our struggles are our culture, and it’s just a way for me to allow people to have a taste, or have an idea of what Black history and black culture is about,” said Ogaosum during opening ceremonies Thursday morning.
On Thursday the college opened Black History Month, not only with speakers but with Cultural Attire Day.
Lethbridge College president and CEO Brad Donaldson voiced the passion the college has for celebrating Black History Month in welcoming cultural understanding.
“The college is deeply committed to celebrating Black History Month,” he said, noting it “represents the welcoming, caring nature that we want everyone to be successful. We want to celebrate who they are and where they come from. And helping all of our students and employees get a chance to see and witness that gives them a chance to grow themselves and understand the people that make up this wonderful college,” said Donaldson.
There will be many opportunities within the community to celebrate Black History Month this month.
“This is a very special event. I feel very privileged to be part of this. There’s an opportunity to share the Black culture and I liked that we have the platform at the college LSCA has been very supportive to college as well. I am happy that we have a community as well that sort of put all of this together, said Ogaosum.
“I feel very recognized. I feel very accepted. I feel very welcomed. And I’m not just saying this for myself, I’m saying this for everyone, every student out there that is in Canada that feels far away from home,” said Ogaosum.
For more information on Black History Month on the Lethbridge College website.
Donaldson noted the importance of the college caring about all cultural backgrounds and the growth it brings to everyone.
“Commitment to students and employees no matter where they come from, they feel it genuine. It’s not something that we’re forcing. It’s something that we’re growing and evolving and creating greater space and the feedback we get consistently is that ‘yeah, I feel welcomed,'” Donaldson said.
In closing Donaldson emphasized learning different backgrounds give opportunities for members of the college community to understand themselves.
“By understanding different cultures, different races, we have an opportunity ourselves to grow and learn and reflect on who we are, where we’ve come from, and how we move forward with all races to create a better welcoming college community society,” he said.